Saturday, December 24, 2016

REVIEW: The Earth Kingdom Chronicles #2: The Tale of Azula (book) by Michael Teitelbaum, based on original screenplays written for Avatar: The Last Airbender, illustrated by Patrick Spaziante

The Tale of Azula is a children's novelization of the second season of Avatar: The Last Airbender, from Azula's perspective.


It’s been about 5 years since I last saw Season 2 of Avatar: The Last Airbender, so I had to check Wikipedia for reminders and, holy crap, this 89-page book covers the entire season. It’s ridiculous.

The way events were crammed in, it felt 1) like barely any time had passed, even though it was obvious that couldn’t be the case, and 2) like Azula had the attention span of a goldfish. At the start of the book, she was after Zuko and Iroh. Then she spotted Aang and decided it’d be great if she could catch him and Zuko and Iroh. Her father would be so proud, and he’d totally make her his heir! By page 70, she decided that it’d be even better if she acquired the whole Earth Kingdom.

The time I spent reading this probably would have been better spent rewatching some of the show. This added absolutely nothing. I picked it up (steeply discounted, thank goodness) thinking that it would feature a whole new story starring Azula. I didn’t expect too much, just something that, in the original series, would have qualified as filler, but I didn’t even get that. Instead it was a tedious, boring, and at times confusing rehash of events straight out of the series. Even the change in POV added nothing new. Azula was depicted as a one-note character with zero depth. It was extremely disappointing.

Literally everything about this was terrible. The book used an Avatar: The Last Airbender font throughout, which made for difficult/annoying reading. Also, the author could not keep his tenses straight. Often the tense would change from one paragraph to the next, present to past and then back to present, for no reason that I could see. Here are a couple examples of it happening in the same paragraph, or even same sentence:
“Ahhh! A wall of rock rose up through the track, blocking my pinwheel blast. In a matter of seconds I’ll crash right into the rock! I jumped out of the mail cart, which smashed into bits against the rock wall.” (34)
“It was a little infuriating that Kyoshi warriors would garner such a welcome, but I will not complain just yet.” (67)
I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone, and I’m really glad I didn’t get any of the other books in this series.

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