A paper copy of a book means cat and cover pics are back! Photo by Kate Ota 2022
The Dawn of Yangchen by F.C. Yee is the third novel taking place in the Avatar: The Last Airbender universe. Yangchen was the last airbending avatar before Aang (directly preceding Kyoshi). In that way, the novel is like a prequel to the Kyoshi series I reviewed before. Yangchen faces a world where trust is hard to come by, and most people are bought as spies. The focus is on a city called Bin-Er, not seen in ATLA, between the Northern Water Tribe and Earth Kingdom. Yangchen wants to fix the corruption in the city which oppresses many while few profit heavily, but she learns of a super weapon that could destroy everything.
This book had some big shoes (literally!) to fill after Kyoshi. I was worried it would be too similar. Don’t all the avatars go through the same struggles? Nope. Yangchen was very distinct from Kyoshi, and her story was a lot more like a cold war spy novel. It also had so much less head hopping than the Kyoshi novels, which had been my biggest problem with those. There was also a ton of great bending that I would love to see animated.
I don’t have many complaints about the book, honestly. But I do see some things that other people may not enjoy. It sets up for a sequel, so if you want a stand-alone, you’re out of luck. It’s also a little slower paced than Kyoshi and includes a significant amount of page space on POVs outside of Yangchen’s. I wasn’t mad at those, but I know other who would want to know in advance.
Overall, this book was great! It’s for ATLA/LOK fans, spy novel enthusiasts, and fantasy lovers. It’s not for you if you don’t know the basics of the avatar world, if you’re hoping for romance, or if you want a stand-alone.
Have you read The Dawn of Yangchen? Did you love it like I did? Let’s discuss in the comments!