Post #51: City of Fire

Cityoffire
City of Fire by Laurence Yep

Post number fifty-one (taking me one book past my goal of reading 50 books in a year, hurrah!) is for Laurence Yep's City of Fire, another required reading for my Fantasy Lit course. This book definitely falls under what I would call "high fantasy"; there are magical creatures abounding, but it did what Rick Riordan does and placed the story in a world where there are actual Gods and Goddesses still ruling (and, in the case of this book, still being worshipped). However, it differs significantly from Rick Riordan's books because it's set in a reimagined 1941. And that's all I'll say without a spoiler space.

I have some brief thoughts, aside from the fact that I really enjoyed this book and found it very easy to read, so you can read those below.

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So there is a sort of ensemble cast in this book, and the chapters alternate viewpoints (although I found a bunch of occurrences where the narrative would lapse into someone else's viewpoint for sentence here or there, and then swith back). The main characters are Scirye, who is a twelve-year-old girl from the Kushan Empire, who has lived a variety of places in her young life because her mother is a diplomat and travels a lot; Leech, who is a runaway from an orphanage currently living on the streets of San Francisco; Bayang, a dragon assassin (not even kidding here!); and Koko, Leech's friend and companion on the streets, who has a bit of a secret and a problem with thievery (Hermes would love him).

The story starts by introducing the characters (this takes a while), and giving them the reason for joining together: a dragon, Badik, has broken into a museum (wherein all these treasures from the Kushan Empire are on display) and stolen something from the "mummy" (for lack of a better word) of the Jade Lady, someone who is held in much esteem in Kushan. The dragon also kills Scirye's sister, and Koko and Leech's mentor. Bayang has her own vendetta against Badik, because he killed her family. So, this common thread discovered, they set out to try to retrieve the stolen relic and get some revenge. Things don't go as planned, though, and it's pretty much one strange and dangerous occurrence after another. The ending is sort of unsatisfying as well, because this is only the first book of a trilogy, and is setting the reader up for that. We do, however, get to meet the Hawaiian Volcano Goddess, Pele, and she is very entertaining.

I think I'll eventually finish this trilogy; the book was fun, fast and engaging, even if the ending made me want to bang my head in frustration because nothing much is accomplished (except that they figure out exactly what Badik [and the person Badik is working for] is trying to do with the stolen relic). I'd like to see how it all ends.

I found the Book Trailer for City of Fire on YouTube, too, if you want to see it! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4j2PFxSxszQ

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