Review copy provided by First Second Books.
This is the second volume of The Nameless City (first book named the same thing as the series). Having spent the first volume setting up a multicultural city with diverse population while also establishing character relationships, Hicks is ready to use those elements strongly in book two. The first book was a lot more action-adventure, with races through various parts of the city.
The second book has some action, but it’s a lot more politics. With the grounding The Nameless City provided, there’s never the problem of “why do I care about this, again?” The characters who are affected by the policies–and the ways they’re affected–have been established vividly. So the moments of going “oh no!” and “whew!” all hit.
There is a new antagonist in this book, and Hicks makes sure that she has human motivations while still being clearly opposed to Kai and Rat *and* in the wrong. There’s a little bit of Jackie Chan Furniture School of Martial Arts in the climax of that relationship, which is all to the good as far as I’m concerned.
There are two kinds of young adult books: the kind that are only going to be of interest to people in that age group, and the kind that are set up to be of interest to anybody starting with that age group. This is the latter. If you’re a fan of Avatar: the Last Airbender, this is a series for you. It continues to deliver on earlier promise, and then some.
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