With Part two to Laurence Yep's City trilogy coming out this spring, I thought it was time get familiar with it. The kind folks at TOR sent along City of Fire, and I was excited to sink my teeth into this award winning authors work for the first time.
Five unlikely friends, two of them not what they seem, are brought together by an unexpected dragon attack in the middle of a museum exhibit. A united need for revenge launches them on an adventure taking them by magic carpet, plane and dragon from San Francisco to Hawaii with unexpected twists along the way.
A delicious blend of fantasy and historical based fiction, City of fire has a very unique feel to it's world, especially for a middle school book. I found Yep's explanations in the afterword about which cultures and historical facts he borrowed from surprisingly detailed, and I enjoy the fact he has a high enough regard for his young readers to include it.
Likewise his characters were completely charming, their diverse skills, cultures and backgrounds making them complex and even more loveable. But I imagine it also makes them considerably more approachable to a wide range of readers.
And finally, the story itself is a whirlwind ride of adventure and surprises. Short chapters, action packed, and racing towards the end of the book at top speeds would make this appealing to even the more reluctant readers. I can see why Laurence's work is so highly acclaimed, and I can't wait for the arrival of City of Ice.
City of Fire, by Laurence Yep
Published by Starscape August 2010
Buy City of Fire on Amazon