Like Avatar: The Last Airbender? Here Are 7 Books For You!

Hello, Umairah here!

Avatar: The Last Airbender is an animated TV show has seen a recent surge in popularity as more people (including me) discovered it when it came to Netflix.

It may be a children’s show but it truly is brilliant and appeals to all ages with its loveable cast of characters, compelling plot, world building, interesting lore, complex villains and the best redemption arc in history (I’m looking at you, Zuko). Not to mention the great soundtrack, the animation and the perfect balance between action, humour and emotion.

Basically, I’m in love with this TV show and if you are too, here are some books, all by BIPOC, that you might like!

(1) If you shipped Katara and Zuko…

…then you will like We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

“You rise with the moon, I rise with the sun.” Although I do like the hate to love trope, I don’t ship Katara with Zuko (or with Aang for that matter). But if you are someone who does, We Hunt the Flame will make your enemies to lovers dreams come true:

    • A quest to recover a lost artefact and restore magic
    • A loveable cast of characters (they might not be Team Avatar but they’re certainly #squadgoals)
    • Nasir has big Zuko vibes
    • “People lived because she killed.”/ “People died because he lived.”
    • A world inspired by ancient Arabia

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(2) If you liked the idea of four nations based on four elements…

…then you will like A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

“Water. Earth. Fire. Air. Long ago, the four nations lived together in harmony.” In A Song of Wraiths and Ruin the day of the week a person is born on determines their patron deity and magical ability (the author even wrote a horoscope for each day). For example, people born on Monday specialise in light magic! And if that hasn’t convinced you:

    • Malik is soft like Aang and Karina has a similar personality to Toph
    • Malik and his sisters are very close and would do anything for each other just like Katara and Sokka
    • Top tier romance (that is enemies to lovers- Zutara fans rejoice)
    • Some of the best world building I’ve ever seen in a YA fantasy
    • West African inspired!

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(3) If you liked the cat-and-mouse chase between Zuko and Aang…

…then you will like The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala

If, like me, you wish there were more fantasy books with the cat-and-mouse trope (if you know any tell me in the comments!), don’t mind a dash of romance on the side and wish Zuko talked less about his honour then you’ll like The Tiger at Midnight:

    • A cat-and-mouse chase between a soldier and an assassin who are each other’s targets
    • A hate to love romance (another one for the Zutara fans)
    • Moral dilemmas galore
    • Gorgeous world building
    • Inspired by ancient Indian history and Hindu mythology

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(4) If you wish Azula were the main character…

…then you will like The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang

Rin, the main character of The Poppy War, is quite similar to Azula- they even both wield fire- although they are the way they are for very different reasons. This book is extremely dark (check the content warnings before reading) and is kind of like what Avatar: the Last Airbender would have been like if it were for adults not children:

  • An adult military fantasy inspired by Chinese history
  • Despite her moral decline you can never hate Rin because you know what led her to it
  • Examines war, power, revenge and what can drive people to extreme cruelty
  • Full of gods, shamans and general chaos
  • In Avatar: the Last Airbender there is a positive attitude to magic, in The Poppy War it destroys the wielder and drives them to insanity

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(5) If you shipped Sokka and Suki and/or Azula and Ty Lee…

…then you will like The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco

If you thought Sokka and Suki were adorable wait until you meet Haidee and Arjun from The Never Tilting World. And the other main relationship, Odessa and Lan, do remind me of what Azula and Ty Lee might be like if they were together! In general, The Never Tilting World is worth a read if you like the idea of:

    • An imaginative climate fiction fantasy novel
    • A world split between day and night
    • Two goddess twins (with rainbow hair) who don’t know the other exists
    • Pitched as ‘Frozen meets Mad Max’

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(6) If you loved the more mysterious story lines…

…then you will like Descendant of the Crane by Joan He

If you liked watching the mystery unravel in Ba Sing Se or in ‘The Puppetmaster’ (Book 3, episode 8) then Descendant of the Crane is the right book for you. Full of political intrigue, mystery and some of the most twisty plot twists I’ve ever seen this book will keep you guessing until the very last page:

    • Queen Hesina is brilliant you can’t not love her
    • Impeccably crafted characters and relationships
    • Chinese-inspired fantasy
    • “What is truth? Scholars seek it. Poets write it. Good kings pay gold to hear it. But in trying times, truth is the first thing we betray.” (I just love this quote)

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(7) If you think Katara should have been the main character and/or Azula deserved a redemption arc…

…then you will like Mirage by Somaiya Daud

This book is basically what would happen if Katara had to be Azula’s body double, and it is brilliant. If you loved the emphasis Avatar: the Last Airbender put on developing the characters and their relationships then Mirage and its sequel, Court of Lions, are the books for you:

  • Moroccan and Amazighi inspired science fiction/ fantasy
  • Deals with themes of resistance to colonialism, cultural appropriation and poetry as a form of resistance
  • Beautiful romances that will make you swoon/ cry/ melt into a puddle of yearning
  • This is the book of my heart just trust me and read it!

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Book covers of: We Hunt the Flame, A Song of Wraiths and Ruin, The Tiger at Midnight, The Poppy War, The Never Tilting World, Mirage and Descendant of the Crane

Do you like Avatar: the Last Airbender? Which books would you have put on this list? Let me know in the comments!

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She Will Reign: Review of All the Stars and Teeth

Thank you to Imprint for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Book: All the Stars and Teeth

Author: Adalyn Grace

Year Published: 2020

Content Warnings: violence, death, suicide, sexual assault (mentioned), abusive relationship (a detailed list by the author can be found here)

  • Plot: 3/5
  • Characters: 3/5
  • Writing: 3.5/5
  • Overall: 3/5

I was incredibly excited to read All the Stars and Teeth and while I liked the book, it didn’t fully live up to my expectations.

While I admired her ferocity, I couldn’t connect to or root for the protagonist, Amora. Something about her characterisation felt so… detached. I felt the same way about the love interest, Bastian. The only two characters I actually liked and cared about were Amora’s friend, Ferrick, and Vataea (who was a mermaid). I honestly wish the book was about them instead.

My favourite aspect was the magic system. There were seven islands in the Kingdom of Visidia and each one had its own type of magic out of soul, elemental, enchantment, mind, time, restoration or curse. I did appreciate how original this system was- especially the enchantment magic and the sinister soul magic. 

The book did have a lot of potential, especially in its exploration of the corruptive effects power and how it seeps down like poison through generations. However, my lack of connection to the main characters meant the impact was lost on me and I didn’t even care about the plot enough to be shocked by the twists and turns.

I don’t think I’ll be reading the sequel but I’d still recommend this book to anyone who like books with pirates, mermaids, interesting magic systems and heirs fighting for their right to rule. If it sounds intriguing to you, give it a go- you might like it more than I did!

What were your thoughts on All the Stars and Teeth? Do you have any recommendations of books with mermaids/ sirens? Let me know in the comments!

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A Light in the Darkness: Review of Night

Thank you to the author for providing me with an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Book: Night (North #2) 


After months in captivity, Apaay managed to escape Yuki’s labyrinth with her life. But her freedom did not come without a steep cost. When the Face Stealer, the North’s most notorious demon, calls in her blood oath, Apaay must heed his demand. Debts, after all, must be repaid.

As Apaay attempts to navigate her uprooted life, something dark slithers among the snow-dusted conifers of the North. A long-dead war is unfinished, and there are those who would see it revived. In a place where misplaced loyalty could mean her death, Apaay must look inward to repair her broken soul—for if she cannot place trust in those around her, she might find enemies are closer than they appear.

In this stunning follow-up to Below, Alexandria Warwick brings the second book in her dark and seductive North series to thrilling new heights.

Author: Alexandria Warwick

Year Published: 2020

  • Plot: 3.5/5
  • Characters: 4/5
  • Writing: 4/5
  • Overall: 3.5/5

Night was the sequel to Below that expanded on the first book well, although it was a bit too overwhelming at times.

In this book, Apaay was out of survival mode and everything that had befallen her in the labyrinth came crashing down on her. Her trauma was explored in a raw, emotive manner, so much so that her guilt, grief and despair were almost palpable. I felt sad watching her push everyone trying to help her away and make choices that were clearly going to lead to more pain but she was in such a dark place and that was the only way she could cope.

Below was about Apaay realising her self worth and knowing that she was enough exactly the way she was. In Night, she had to learn to forgive herself and leave the past behind her. It was emotional watching her slowly see a glimmer of light in the darkness and begin to work towards it.

I was very surprised that Ila quickly became my favourite character. I loved her strength, wisdom and determination. In this book, it was her turn to go on a journey of self discovery and it was interesting to see her navigate her expanding world. I was sad that her friendship with Apaay broke down but I do understand the importance of walking away from friendships that bring nothing but pain. I still wish they could have communicated with each other more.

I think I was supposed to like the Face Stealer in this book… but I didn’t. He has had some growth, there is a better side to him and he has shown remorse for previous events but I still think he has a long way to go before I can like him as a character. His intentions were always so murky and I never knew whether to take him at face value or not (pun not intended).

It was interesting to see Apaay’s opinion of the Face Stealer shift but there were times when it hinted at a possible future romance between them and I really hope that doesn’t happen! I would hate that. There would be an unsettling power imbalance and I can’t see Apaay forgiving him enough to love him.

While Below was mostly confined to a shifting and perilous labyrinth, its sequel, Night, expanded greatly on the world. I loved the contrast between the tight, trapped atmosphere of the first book and the sense of vastness in the second as we got to learn more about the subtleties of the world. The plot was much slower paced than the first book and there is nothing wrong with that, but I didn’t like how the pace sped up rapidly near the end making the ending feel rushed and confusing.

As Apaay’s world increased the scope of the plot increased too. Suddenly, the stakes were much higher than Apaay’s mission to save her sister. The fate of nations were balancing on a knife edge and war was on the horizon. However, one of my favourite aspects of Below was how personal it was to Apaay. As I closely followed her story I became more and more invested and compelled to keep reading. The widening of the plot’s scope made me feel less engaged with the story as I had to get my head around all these new components and characters and therefore felt less connected to them all.

I understand that it was necessary for the story but it made the novel feel like a transition between the first and third upcoming book. Therefore, I enjoyed it less than the first. But because of this I am very excited to read the next book as now that the larger plot is established I think I will be more invested in the next part of the story!

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