Legacy of Yangchen by F.C. Yee marks the return of Avatar to novels.
Avatar: The Last Airbender is a beloved animated series that aired on Nickelodeon from 2005 to 2008. The show was praised for its complex characters, intricate world-building, and themes of friendship, love, and redemption. It also introduced viewers to a unique system of elemental magic, where certain individuals, known as benders, can manipulate the elements of water, earth, fire, and air.
In addition to the TV series, Avatar has also spawned comics, graphic novels, and even a live-action movie adaptation (which was widely panned by fans and critics alike). However, one medium that Avatar has not explored much is the novel format. That is, until now.
Legacy of Yangchen by F.C. Yee is the first Avatar novel in over a decade, and it marks the return of the franchise to the literary world. The book is set in the same universe as the TV series, but it takes place several decades after the events of Avatar: The Last Airbender and its sequel series, The Legend of Korra.
The titular character of the book is Yangchen, a previous incarnation of the Avatar who lived hundreds of years before Aang, the protagonist of the TV series. Yangchen was known for her wisdom, compassion, and strong connection to the spirit world. She was also the one who established the Air Nomads as a separate culture and helped to maintain balance in the world during her time.
Legacy of Yangchen follows a young Air Nomad named Hoshiko, who is training to become an airbending master. Hoshiko is a talented and ambitious student, but she also struggles with feelings of inadequacy and a desire to prove herself to her peers and teachers. When she discovers a mysterious artifact that belonged to Yangchen, Hoshiko embarks on a journey to uncover the Avatar’s past and learn from her wisdom.
The book is a compelling blend of adventure, mystery, and character development. Hoshiko’s journey takes her across the world, from the Air Temples to the Earth Kingdom to the Spirit World. Along the way, she meets a diverse cast of characters, including other airbenders, earthbenders, and even a spirit guide named Naga.
One of the strengths of Legacy of Yangchen is its exploration of the Avatar universe beyond the main characters of the TV series. While Aang and Korra are mentioned in passing, the book focuses on new characters and locations that expand the lore of the franchise. For example, we learn more about the history and culture of the Air Nomads, as well as the role of the Avatar in maintaining balance in the world.
Another strength of the book is its portrayal of Hoshiko as a flawed and relatable protagonist. She is not a perfect hero, but rather a young woman who is still figuring out her place in the world. Her struggles with self-doubt and ambition will resonate with readers of all ages, and her growth throughout the book is satisfying to witness.
Of course, no Avatar story would be complete without the element of bending. Legacy of Yangchen features some impressive action scenes that showcase the power and creativity of airbending. Hoshiko’s battles against other benders and spirits are thrilling to read, and they add a sense of danger and urgency to the story.
Overall, Legacy of Yangchen is a welcome addition to the Avatar franchise. F.C. Yee has done an excellent job of capturing the spirit of the TV series while also expanding on its mythology and themes. The book is a must-read for fans of Avatar, but it also stands on its own as a compelling fantasy adventure. Here’s hoping that more Avatar novels are on the horizon.