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Avatar: The Last Airbender: Smoke and Shadow Part Two: 05/09/16
Avatar: The Last Airbender: Smoke and Shadow Part Two by Gene Luen Yang is unusual in that it opens up a new plot from the previous volume in this trilogy. In the previous one, there was a failed attempt to kidnap Zuko and his family. Now, though, spirits are taking children from their beds as they sleep.
Those who don't want Zuko in power want to use the situation to put a curfew in place as well as a posse. Zuko, therefore, desperately needs Aang to postpone his trip to meet his future in laws in order to track down the truth behind these disappearances.
The long history of the different tribes has been hinted at throughout the Avatar stories, but it's always fascinating to learn more. Clearly the creators of this franchise went through a ton of world building.
This story reveals a legend of mothers angry over the war brought upon the villages by the feuding warlords resorting to violence of their own. When they were killed they still managed to carry out their curse through a grudge ghost type haunting until the different fire bending factions united under one Fire Lord.
They are not responsible for the current situation. Their history is being misappropriated.
Meanwhile at home, Zuko's mother continues to be off. She acts cheerful and she's clearly bonding with Zuko. But her youngest children continue to insist she's not their mother. She's also described as cold to the touch. If anything, she reminds me of a changeling. What if the face changing spell doesn't work as advertised?
Yet tucked into all this drama of disappearing children, and Yuko's permanently crunchy family, the friendship between Aang and Zuko is fleshed out. There's a lot humor between the two that helps break up the suspense.