Title: North and South
Author: Gene Luen Yang et al.
Genre: Fantasy/graphic novel
Rating: Five stars
“When Katara and Sokka return home to the Southern Water Tribe, they are shocked to find that it has gone from a small village to a bustling city! Malina, a Northerner, is behind the change and plans to unify the two groups, but Gilak, a Southerner, leads a fierce rebellion to stop her. In the face of these two opposing tribes, Katara will have to make peace with her nostalgia and distrust to save the home she loves from being permanently torn apart.”
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North and South is the fifth Avatar: The Last Airbender graphic novel I’ve reviewed so far. If you’d like to check out The Promise, The Search, The Rift and Smoke and Shadow, the links are a-right here.
What can I say? This chapter of the Avatar’s journey has to be my favourite. I didn’t think the graphic novels could get much better but this one is just an extra-sparkly gem in a room full of treasures.
The characters in North and South have aged quite a bit since the events of Avatar: The Last Airbender TV series. They’re actually starting to look like adults, not just 12, 13 and 14 year olds anymore! Throughout the series you can see them slowly growing but it isn’t until North and South that you can really tell.
I always wanted to know what happened to the South pole (Katara and Sokka’s homeland) after the war with the Fire Nation ended. The North and South water tribes have collaborated to turn the South pole from a tiny tribe with seven huts to a bustling city. Of course, sudden change will always rub some people up the wrong way.
The North are focused on development and moving forward. The South are concerned that they will lose all their individuality and customs. Naturally, this causes a rift between the two tribes and when tensions finally break, a civil war breaks out.
Katara, Sokka and their father Hakoda call on the Avatar and their friends Toph and Zuko to help them end the fighting. However, when both sides are preapred to shed blood in order to get their way, that’s easier said than done.
This story was incredibly well written, the illustrations beautiful and the character development…wow! North and South is full of deep feelings, acrobatic action and smart ideas (particularly from Sokka – he’s the ideas guy!)
My favourite part about this book was Katara struggling with the idea of her father having a love interest. It’s been a long time since her mother died but having a step-mum isn’t something she’s necessarily comfortable with. Between wondering whether this new Northern girlfriend of her father’s is really interested in him and how to stop the tribes killing each other, Katara has some complicated emotions. But as ever with Katara, she always comes out on top morally. Of course, she’s also kicking butt in between times.
This is an amazing story and while it helps to have read the first four graphic novels, you can get away with just having watched the TV series. If you haven’t done that yet, check it out on Netflix – it’s up there!
If you’re all caught up and want to read North and South, here’s the buy link a-right here!
Like all its predecessors, North and South has earned itself The Secret Library Recommended Reads Seal!
Thanks for reading!