Avatar: The Last Airbender – Book Tag!

This tag was created by A Clockwork Reader on YouTube. As I just finished my rewatch of Avatar and am making my way back through Korra and loving it, I thought this was a cool time for this tag. I loved this tag and thought the questions were really fun. What type of bender would you be? I would for sure be a fire bender.

Water


1.) Katara and Sokka: The Best Sibling Relationship

For this I am going with the Penderwick series by Jeanne Birdsall. In the first book we follow Roselind , Skye, Jane, and Batty who are on summer vacation with their father. They are such a sweet family. The say they care for each other and the frustrations they have with each other are so real and grounded. I love that they each got their own path.


2.) Yue: Favorite Star-Crossed Lovers

The Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds: I’m not sure there is a correct way to define this love, but star-crossed seems close enough. I loved this story and it did in fact bring me to tears more than once.


3.) Blood Bending: A Book With A Disturbing/Unsettling Content

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett: This books place in a dystopian community where girls are banished for a year when they are 17 to rid themselves of the “magic” that corrupts the men in the society. It follows through in all the ways this can be interpreted the vulnerable year of banishment and how a society throughout it’s years places blame on young women for corrupting.

Earth


1.) Toph: A Character Whose Strength Surprised You or The Other Characters In The Book

Jude and Noah from I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson. We follow these twins three years apart and through the story it is slowly revealed just how much weight they were carrying.
2.) The Tales of Ba Sing Se: Best Short Story/Poetry Collection

There are a lot of really good ones. I think the one that has the most stories that stuck with me is Paper Cities edited by Ekaterina Sedia. Each story is a fantasy set in a city whether real or fictional. I really like most of the stories and loved the way setting was used as the common thread.


3.) Kioshi Warriors: Best Warrior Character

This answer is only ever going to be Paks from The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon. She starts as a sheepfarmer’s daughter and joins up as a foot soldier. Then… everything else happens but she is always a warrior at heart.

Fire


1.) Zuko: Best Redemption Arc

In general I don’t think these are well done. Zuko tends to be my number one example. I feel like the best example I have is Alabaster from The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin and it still doesn’t totally count. Also spoilers…


2.) Iroh: Wisest Character

Elodin from The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss. He is the Master Namer at the University. It is literally his job to have an understanding of things as to name them. He is also an incredible teacher and his patience while people are taking in his learnings is unmatched.


3.) Azula: Best Downfall

Xifeng from Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao. This is a East Asian inspired Evil Queen (ie. Snow White’s step-mother) origin story. So we go in knowing it’s going to end badly, however Xifeng’s descent and how far she is willing to go to get what she wants is so spirally and good.

Air


1.) Appa: Favorite Fictional Animal/Pet

Gleep! The purest little dragon in the world from Myth Adventures by Robert Asprin. He is a baby dragon and he would think you are wonderful.


2.) Aang: Purest Cinnamon Roll

Chestnutt from Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia is the first one that comes to mind. Not only is she the softest character (personality wise and literally) but she reminds me a lot of Aang. Chestnutt wants to help people but struggles with being seen as capable.


3.) Avatar State: A Stubborn Character/ A Character That Struggles With Letting Go

Stevie Bell from the Truly Devious series by Maureen Johnson is incredibly stubborn. Yes, she is smart and passionate, but she is so stubborn. Stevie has a hard time letting go of a puzzle and initial perceptions of people. She makes a lot of mistakes when she can’t let go of the reins and let someone else take care of it. Super fun character to read though.

Three Dark Crowns series review (Spoiler Free)

The Premise: This series is written by Kendare Blake and published by Harper Collins. It covers 4 novels and novella bind-up of 2 stories. The story is set on the island of Fennbirn, which is isolated by a mysterious mist and ruled by factions of magic. Fennbirn is ruled by a queen from a faction of magics. In each generation of queens triplets are born with equal claim to the throne. At 6 they are separated and raised by the three major magical factions that they represent (naturalist, elemental, poisoner). The queen that survives their 16th year becomes queen and her faction rules until the next set of triplets come of age. The first book starts with Katherine, Mirabella, and Arsinoe preparing for their ascension year that only one of them will survive.

My Review: I really enjoyed this series across the for books and two short stories I gave it an average rating of 4.3 stars. I loved the characters (my secret favorite is Braddock). For me fantasy stories that are really character driven is what gets me. All the queen are in the same situation but the way the respond to it is what moves the plot. Personally, the moral grey aspect was done well as it’s not characters choosing power or evil influences. It is one form of survival or another.

Initially, I was hesitant to pick it up because it is marketed as this big fight to the death series ( which is it I guess).If you are picking it up for the fight to the death, please know that there are a couple of epic fight scenes but they don’t first appear until the end of book 1. While the romances have a lot of chemistry, I wish they were either more or less prevalent in the page space. I am never a fan of love spells.

In short, I think the things that I didn’t like were small or because of the way the book was pitched and my expectations were off for book one. I really enjoyed a majority of this series and think it is strong all the way through, book two as a little bit of a sophomore slump but is not as notable as in other popular fantasy series.

Best Book: Five Dark Fates (Book 4) for me it is super rare to feel so happy and satisfied with a finale and it just really stood out. The Oracle Queen (short story of queens past) had me on the edge of my seat screaming. It was so fun to see how other queens have handled the ascension year.

Worst Book: The only one I didn’t enjoy was The Young Queens (short story of Katherine, Mirabella, and Arsinoe as children). I know with these optional short stories to give new information is hard when it is optional for the main series but I got nothing out of this.

Read this series if you enjoy:

  • A fantasy series with a satisfying and wonderful conclusion.
  • Morally grey characters who make the choices that they have.
  • Powerful magic
  • Complex family dynamics

Let me know if you have read this series or if you plan to!

On Moving

We are moving! Surprise, we don’t move for 4 more weeks but we are starting to figure out packing and logistics. It is really interesting figuring out a move with my partner for a couple reasons:

1) last time we were moving from two different states in with each other after being long distant for a year and it was a bring what you can take from your parents and go. Believe me we did and it was glorious, but now we are figuring out how to move together and not as individuals.

2) Not including college/internship dorms and apartments, our current apartment is the 10th place I have lived. Not including my college years, this is my partner’s second EVER. Isn’t that wild! However, it made it hard for them to consider a new place not home but a place to live for a while.

As you may have ascertained from the many moves and if you include college we are at 15 I believe, I am kind of veteran of moving. I have been through the paces quite a few time. The worst time in a move is the week before. Not just because you are boxing up your life but often when you need things they are already in a box and you can’t remember which one. Also, where you live is just where you live, anywhere can be home.

Some tips and tricks we will be using in the next month:

  • Using paper plates and utensils the week leading up to the move so we can pack our kitchen with less stress.
  • Using clothing/bedding as padding for fragile objects. It saves money and reduces space to create in boxes and other storage.
  • Save your boxes for things that can’t be moved in luggage, laundry hamper, bags. You need a lot fewer than you think.
  • Take pictures of the apartment as you move out as well as move-in. This will help with any damage claims from future and previous landlords.
  • Agree to a system of packing before you start.
  • If you can set aside some money to order food for the overlap days in-between places or at least the last and first day in each place.

Wish us luck on the big move!