Kaidu is one such outsider. He's a Dao born and bred--a member of the latest occupying nation. Rat is a native of the Nameless City. At first, she hates Kai for everything he stands for, but his love of his new home may be the one thing that can bring these two unlikely friends together. Let's hope so, because the fate of the Nameless City rests in their hands.
Review: Hicks begins a new graphic fantasy series with the Nameless City. Set in a highly desirable location and relentlessly conquered, the city has been renamed so many times. Its permanent residents watch those rulers come and go and call it the Nameless City. Kai, son of a general in the current conquering army, the Dao, has just arrived. Newly acquainted with his absent father, Kai is dazzled by the place, especially the girl he sees racing across the rooftops. As Kai explores the city he begins to see the various socio-economic divisions among the citizens. He also befriends the girl, Rat, and sees what life is like for the conquered. Kai and Rat's friendship develops naturally with trust and respect, Hicks hints at the city’s complex dynamics. Resentments toward the Dao are simmering, and privileged Kai is mostly oblivious until Rat starts training him in her parkour-like moves. Hicks spends a lot of time in conveying Kai's learning through visual cues, expressive faces and gestures, and subtext. Along with the developing friendship, there is also a subplot that involves an assassination attempt.
What I found most interesting, albeit, underdeveloped in the graphic novel is the Asian, especially what seems like Chinese influence in the story from the rooftops of the cities buildings to the character's physical characteristics and clothing. We are not given any background information regarding the city in terms of geographical information, but it hard not to ignore the influences. I'm really hoping that these ideas will be addressed in the second installment of this series. With appealing artwork, likable characters, and a fun, fast plot, Nameless City is off to a good start. I look forward to learning more about the city in the second volume.
Rating: 4 stars
Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades 4 and up.
If you like this book try: Fullmetal Alchemist series by Hiromu Arakawa and Avatar: The Last Airbender by Gene Luen Yang