I somehow escaped reading this book in high school english. After reading it I really wished I hadn't missed out. After only the first chapter I couldI somehow escaped reading this book in high school english. After reading it I really wished I hadn't missed out. After only the first chapter I could tell that this was going to be a book that permanently impacted the way I look at the world. Of course I did not miss out on learning the terrible history of slavery, segregation and racism that we in America have. But this is probably the first book to make it suddenly very personal. The way Maya writes about how racism affects a person on a psychological and emotional basis and totally permeates who you are was deeply touching. Highly, highly recommended....more
After reading the first page I felt immediately relaxed and excited about this first part. Where ‘The Promise’ failed in so many places ‘The Search’ sAfter reading the first page I felt immediately relaxed and excited about this first part. Where ‘The Promise’ failed in so many places ‘The Search’ seems to have side stepped them. The pacing was good, characterization was generally good, and the plot interesting and realistic. Can’t wait for the next parts!
----Warning: SPOILER Review----
The very first panel had me intrigued. I at first took Speaker 2 to be Ursa beginning to tell her story to Zuko, speaker 1. On further reflection it might be just as likely that the other speaker is Azula; both of them really need to find peace with their mother’s story. However it seems like Ursa is only talking to one person, so my money is on Zuko. But clearly the writers decided that having Zuko spend 2+ books looking for his mom, finding her and then spending the entire last part telling her story would just not work. So I really like how they have interweaved the two stories. It definitely adds some more suspense.
Ursa I find her story really interesting. Where she is from makes sense and I love the little ‘Love Amongst the Dragons’ tid bit the writers connected. I’m still a little confused as to why she agreed to Ozai’s proposal without a fight or anything; I feel like something was missing there.Did they threaten her? She seems a lot more worried when telling Ikem to leave then what seems warranted from what we know. Obviously ‘fire prince’ and all that but she definitely looked afraid not just sad. I am a little confused over the letters Ursa is sending. Has she never expected a response? That wouldn’t be completely unlikely I think, her motivation may be mostly letting her family know how she is doing and knowing it would be too dangerous for her to receive responses. Which still leaves me confused as to why she put names and important secrets into letters when she wasn’t getting any responses. Especially when she kept the masks hidden. It seems a little reckless.
Ikem I like him. It seems kind of obvious to me that he ends up going to the forgetful valley or whatever its called and gets stuck there. The panels of him growing a beard and whatnot make it seem like he was there for years. While of course he has suffered heartbreak that seems very extreme, especially since his clothes are all dirty and torn. And the wolf has something to do with it too. Hmmm now I’m wondering if the wolf and valley are there soemhow on prupose as a safeguard for Roku’s descendents? While some people have pointed out that it maybe isn’t correct that he preposed to Ursa since she is the magistrates daughter and thus probably hiring ranking than him I think that assumes he is some sort of peasant or common worker. It seems more likely that since he has enough free time to be in a play he might be from a well off family like merchants or something. Also back water town; probably no one cares that much.
Ozai So he came evil huh? There has been so much spec that they loved each other at first but that is clearly not the case. Maybe some affection did grow between them but clearly not much, every image we have of Ursa from the show is of her looking sad so I think her backstory fits so far. Also this explains some of Zuko’s ‘mine mine!’ possesiveness towards Mai in ‘The Beach’. Clearly he was just trying to be his father; though I would guess it was unconsciously done here. I also didn’t realize how older than Ursa he must be. He looks like he’s in his mid-twenties to thirties at least while I wouldn’t peg Ursa any older than twenty. So I think at this point he has already solidified a lot of his character into the evilness we know today.
Zuko All I have to say is this: lil’ bitty Zuko, cutest thing ever or cutest thing ever?!? Ok that’s not all I have to say. Is Ikem his real father? I highly doubt that. That would undue way too much of his character arc and I think Bryke is way too careful to do something like that. Is it a great way to sell the book and create a suspenseful plot? Absolutely. And it even makes the search all that more pressing. Before it was ‘We have to resolve family issues!’ and now its much bigger than that.
Azula Which is why I think that Azula is absolutely setting Zuko up. That letter was just way too obvious. While she is crazy and delusional she’s not stupid. I think her craziness only makes her miscalculate her plans since she adds in factors that aren’t actually true, like her ravings about Ursa. So she isn’t up to snuff per her usual but she is certainly still dangerous. As others have pointed out the letter Ozai reads and the one Zuko reads don’t have the same number of folds; small observation but could point to the fact that they aren’t the same letter or Zuko’s has been tampered with. It’s also a little weird that the letter sounds like she is responding to Ikem or saying something she said previously. This is not a ‘hey we have a son’ kind of letter but a ‘hey remember our son?’. If she’s already written to Ikem telling him this why hasn’t Ozai seen that letter already? Or maybe that could explain why the letters are different; the one Ozai is seeing is the ‘hey Ikem we have a son’ and the one Zuko has is just another one, that would still of course show that Ozai is not his father.
What I think is interesting about Ikem possibly being Zuko’s dad is what it reveals about his birth. If there is confusion on his parentage either he must have been born within the first nine months (or eight? all this talk of him being born struggling, did everyone just assume he was born early when he wasn’t?) or so of their marriage or he has a very bad sense of when his parents got married vs when he was born (not uncommon, I still have to really think to remember the year my parents got married. Also while this could be easily disproved back in the capital (‘Sir your parents were married for two years before you were born’ ect) that would be harder to do in the wilderness and if all Azula wants is for Zuko to be distracted from another of her plans (like kill Ursa so that her delusions go away and so that Zuko doesn’t find out that the letters she burned actually show that he’s not Ikem’s son?) that’s all she needs).
I think the biggest point in ‘The Search’s favor is that I have been able to easily ramble on for over 1,000 words about what is going to happen next while in ‘The Promise’ all I could say was there’s obviously not going to be another war and where is Iroh anyway? ...more
The lack of footnotes and general references in this book (about history!) is almost astounding. I realize it’s a small book meant to just introduce aThe lack of footnotes and general references in this book (about history!) is almost astounding. I realize it’s a small book meant to just introduce a reader who may know nothing about the Reformation but that does not mean you shouldn’t cite yourself! In fact it is a large strike against this book. Another strike is the somewhat biased writing instead of stating historical facts in some interesting way. While obviously this topic means a great deal to the author, a clearer disticntion between facts, conjecture and author opinion is needed. The final blow is disagreeing with Mark Noll (on its own not great but he’s allowed to do that) with hardly any good reasons why. That and the author starting to use the words evangelical and evangelicism in the latter half of the book when referring to varios reformers, they are not the same thing! Evangelicals and evangelism didn’t exist until about one hundred years later.
I think my biggest beef with this book is that while the issue of justification was the main theological point of dissention that started the reformation, it is the aspect of authority that was the real issue. Who has the authority to define christianity theologically, culturally and otherwise? Who has the authority to declare who is saved and who is not? Who has the authority period? Catholocism said(ys) on this earth the Pope and Protestantism said(ys) on this earth it is every christian using the word of God. In this way I think that while the theological issue of the Reformation is basically settled, the aspect of authority is not. And I don’t just mean that Catholics have that wrong. I think Protestants (like myself) tend to use the ‘word of God’ as their point of authority but, similar to catholics, never want to discuss the how and the why of it (ie why the bible? How is it the word of God? How do we use and view translations?). In this sense protestants need to recognize that just as the Pope does not have the whole unvarnished truth about everything, so our reading of the bible is also not errorless and without need of correction. For this I think is the greatest lesson of the Reformation; that we be continually reforming and reevaluating the way we view and practice christianity in order to navigate away from abuses of power and the corruption that is sure to follow. ...more