Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Kiki Strike, Inside the Shadow City

by Kirsten Miller

For the first 12 years of Ananka Fishbein's life, she lived a rather dull existence, though she didn't really realize it at the time. That boring life changes one morning when she wakes up to see a portion of the park outside of her window has sunken into the ground and a creature of some sort appear from the hole only to hop right back in. Ananka ends up checking out the hole and discovering an entrance to a secret city, known as the Shadow City. Later, Ananka meets tiny Kiki Strike, a strange elfish-type girl with white hair. Together with some rogue girl scouts, Kiki and Ananka attempt to map the underground world and find that even good plans can't account for everything...

What a fun book! If I had been willing to try it when I was younger (I pretty much stuck to the series I knew and loved), I think I would have loved it. The beginning is a bit slow; there's lots of introductions and you chase Kiki around trying to figure out who she is, but once the action really starts it's there pretty much until the end. I loved that throughout the book you never really knew who to trust and what their motives were. The rogue girl scouts had awesome skills, such as: forgery, explosives, mechanical genius (for bugs, tracking devices, etc) and a master of disguise. Though I didn't necessarily like the characters of the scouts all that much (especially Luz - I found her more than a bit obnoxious), they were a fun group to follow.

My favorite part of this book is the tips Ananka gives girls who would like to become "dangerous." Some of my favorite tips include:

How to Prepare for Adventure
7 Chewing Gum Fresh breath should be a priority for everyone. However, gum also comes in handy if you want to jam a cars ignition or stick notes in secret places. (p 85-86)

How to Tell a Lie
4. Make it Sound Embarrassing Few people will doubt a story if it sounds like something you'd rather not admit... (p 175)

How to Spot a Fake Diamond
3 See Through Imposters Write the word fake in tiny letters on a piece of paper. Place your "diamond" facedown on top of the word. If you're able to read through the stone, odds are you've found your answer. (p 341-342)

Lots of good information to keep in the back of your mind.

4 out of 5 stars

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