This review contains spoilers for Avatar: The Last Airbender Books Two and Three.
Set during Book Three: Fire of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Suki Alone serves as a side story; answering questions left by the original series. We follow Suki after her encounter with Azula seen in the episode Appa’s Lost Days. Azula takes Suki to the boiling rock and that’s where the story takes place. We see Suki’s time in prison all the way until the events of the two-part episode, The Boiling Rock.
Faith Erin Hicks serves as writer with illustrators by Peter Wartman and Adele Matera. The trio have written a series of books in the Avatar franchise including Imbalance, the latest book in the Airbender timeline. We’ve also seen solo stories starring Katara and Toph within the last year.
We finally get an origin story for Suki, something fans have wanted to see for a very long time. The story jumps between her childhood, Book One: Water, Book Two: Earth, and back to her time on the Boiling Rock. If you aren’t well versed in the lore of the show, it can be hard to keep up with the different time periods. With that said, this book is for fans of the original series and doesn’t work without that extra context.
Here, we see a little of Suki’s origin, but I wish we explored it a little bit more. Though, seeing a young Suki wanting to become a Kyoshi Warrior was very cute. Hicks’ writing style really shines in all of these stories, and Suki Alone is no different. Humor and heart is found in the best Avatar stories; and Hicks is a master at finding that balance.
Hicks has the task of telling side stories set in the Avatarverse. Which means everything has to fall into place so Sokka and Zuko can rescue her. That hinders the impact the story has on Suki and the supporting characters. We see her make bonds and friendships with her fellow inmates, but we know we’ll never see them interact again so we don’t develop these relationships fully. It’s something that keeps the story from truly being great.
Overall, Suki Alone is a fine addition to the Avatar mythos. It’s nice to see Suki as the focus for the first time in a solo outing. It would’ve been nice if the book was able to take a few more risks, but that’s what happens in a side story like this. It’s definitely worth reading if you’re an Avatar fan.