I wasn't really satisfied with this story; it pretty much went exactly where I thought it was going (I did call that letter being a fake!). I just don...moreI wasn't really satisfied with this story; it pretty much went exactly where I thought it was going (I did call that letter being a fake!). I just don't think the explanation for where Ursa has been worked for the story or the characters (I am somewhat ok with Ursa being cast as a bad mother but the story never really resolved this or highlighted the character flaw as much as I think they should have). Other threads were also left loose, hopefully to be picked up in the next series.
I did like that they brought up Koh though, a hint that he might be coming back?(less)
This book suffers most from a lack of clear direction; the characters are all over the place and the plot similarly winds around without really going...moreThis book suffers most from a lack of clear direction; the characters are all over the place and the plot similarly winds around without really going anywhere. However, the biggest problem by far is the ending. A wonderful cliffhanger at the end, but I think the author has forgotten that the primary use of a good cliffhanger is to get your audience back to read more, which they cannot do if there is nothing else left to read.(less)
Once again this book suffers from a lack of direction and focus in regards to the plot. The ideas were there but the execution was not. The ending cou...moreOnce again this book suffers from a lack of direction and focus in regards to the plot. The ideas were there but the execution was not. The ending could also have been a better cliffhanger; though it does lead pretty nicely into the next book.(less)
I think this book, as well as the next two, would have been better served as groupings of short stories about George Montmorency's exploits and intrig...moreI think this book, as well as the next two, would have been better served as groupings of short stories about George Montmorency's exploits and intrigue abroad, a la Sherlock Holmes. All three books lack a focused plot and I am sure the author would have had plenty of material to go on.(less)
I think this was the best book of the four. Although lacking a bit on plot (a defect the other books suffer from more), I really liked the basic premi...moreI think this was the best book of the four. Although lacking a bit on plot (a defect the other books suffer from more), I really liked the basic premise of the book, the characters, and the setting.(less)
Disclaimer: The author asked if I would review her book, I get nothing but a free PDF copy, so no bias here. I probably wouldn't have read this book o...moreDisclaimer: The author asked if I would review her book, I get nothing but a free PDF copy, so no bias here. I probably wouldn't have read this book otherwise but I think it would be perfect for the 6-10 yro camp.
Generally I like to take notes as I read certain books, especially when I intend to review them in some way. So the fact that half of my notes just read ‘lol!’ says something about this little book. It has plenty of humor, especially the kind children seem to love. The writing is also excellent, no words wasted and lots of scene and character setup subtly worked into the story. I think the overall idea of kids in supervillian school is one that would be appealing to young children and one that hasn't been overdone or hardly done at all as far as I know. As someone who works in a library shelving books I would think that this would have stood out to me if I had put it away at work. If I had any young siblings or nieces or nephews I would recommend this book for them! (less)
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’ s...moreAfter 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? (less)
This third installment of the series was a bit of a relief, kind of like finding a dark navy blue sock at the last minute that only slightly matches t...moreThis third installment of the series was a bit of a relief, kind of like finding a dark navy blue sock at the last minute that only slightly matches the unmatched black one you have. Not what you were looking for but what the hell, it will have to do. This book tried, it really did but it couldn’t dig itself out from the massive hole the last two parts already dug. It answered a few questions and cleared up a few plot points but there was still plenty of out of character moments and still didn’t completely explain how Yu Dao became Republic City. Maybe The Search will expand on that but at this point I’ll just pick it up at the library because I’m not in any hurry to spend more money.
[SPOILER REVIEW] One thing this book did get right was clarifying some of Zuko’s thought process in regards to Iroh and Ozai. When Zuko talks about how his and his father’s intentions are different but their actions would be the same his whole struggle suddenly made sense. I can totally see how he would second guess himself in a situation like that, since before this both his intentions and his actions differed greatly from Ozais. Going to see Ozai then was not about getting advice about what to do as firelord but trying to understand his fathers actions and intentions, and thus his own, better. Of course I only made sense of that now after reading part three, and even then I think I had to read between the lines a bit. So the writing on that could have been loads better.
His little soliloquy talking to Uncle’s picture also made a bit more sense of his decision not to ‘bother’ Uncle since he’s already put him through so much. I think it matches Zuko’s character for him to want to allow Uncle to rest and try not to put him through more difficulties. I have no idea why we found this out in part three and not in part one, it made me want to smack Zuko for going to Ozai and not Iroh during the first two parts. That would have made Zuko seem less like a complete blockhead for not talking to Iroh at all and more of an understandable (but still dumb) mistake.
The Air Nomad fan club, or whatever they called themselves, were redeemed as well. Aparently the BSS chapter is made up of all the immature girls whereas the YD chapter has girls (no dudes though? None at all?) who are actually serious about air nomad culture and philosophy. So that was cool.
I liked the ending with Azula. I lol’ed at Zukos ‘uncomfortable conclusion’ but I think he is right. If anyone has a shot of getting something out of Ozai it would be Azula. Not an angle I had considered before but I like it.
I think, once again, that Toph wins for ‘most out of character’ character in all three of these books. Some of her snark with Sokka was good but mostly it was just super weird that she was totally ok with Aang killing Zuko the entire time and even seemed happy about it. Even General How seemed more upset when Zuko almost died at the end than Toph (or frankly almost everyone else).
But seriously what was up with the Sneers jokes? The first time or two it was funny, after the fifth thumbs up in his direction is just got really old. He’s dating out of his league, ok we get it!
And finally, no Mai? Fail. I refuse to buy any parts of The Search unless there is lots of Mai in it. How are they supposed to have an awesome little baby daughter named Honora if she’s not around?!? (less)
Saw the movie and loved it, then had to go read the book and loved it as well. The style I found was classic Roald Dahl, the art was also similar to h...moreSaw the movie and loved it, then had to go read the book and loved it as well. The style I found was classic Roald Dahl, the art was also similar to his. Cowell still has a unique style though and the characters and plot kept me interested and laughing. Can't wait to see what happens in the next few! (Yes I'm 22, they make good I'm-too-tired-to-read-anything-complicated-before-bed books)(less)
This is an excellent collection of fairy tales, I enjoyed MacDonalds writing a lot. You can really see how much of an influence his style had on CS Le...moreThis is an excellent collection of fairy tales, I enjoyed MacDonalds writing a lot. You can really see how much of an influence his style had on CS Lewis. My favorite stories were The Wise Woman and The History of Photogen and Nycteris.(less)