When her older sister dies trying to prevent the theft of one of her people’s great treasures, Scirye sets out to avenge her and recover the precious item. Helping her are Bayang, a dragon disguised as a Pinkerton agent; Leech, a boy with powers he has not yet discovered; and Leech’s loyal companion Koko, who has a secret of his own. All have a grudge against the thieves who stole the treasure: the evil dragon Badik and the mysterious Mr. Roland.
Scirye and her companions pursue the thieves to Houlani, a new Hawaiian island being created by magic. There, they befriend Pele, the volatile and mercurial goddess of volcanoes. But even with Pele on their side, they may not be able to stop Mr. Roland from gaining what he seeks: the Five Lost Treasures of Emperor Yu. Together, they will give him the power to alter the very fabric of the universe….
I've always been a fan of Fantasy covers. They are bright, animated and, for a change of pace, don't feature real models. Sorry, a bit of snark there. This one I particularly loved after I read the book and realized how spot on the characters are!
This book starts out right away with world building, and whoa....I'm intrigued.
I've always loved Fantasy. From the time I could first read chapter books I was drawn in by the worlds that were build for me by these amazing authors. However, sometimes it is hard to get into a book because the world is so vast and the amount of characters is overwhelming. As a reader, I find it easier to invest in a fictional world when there is a handhold for me that relates to the world around me. Cue Laurence Yep's City of Fire.
Yep builds a fantastic world around the real events of the 1940's. This time period allows our adventurers the use of planes and boats as their main transportation, which is much more exciting in my opinion! Certain events in our history have been altered, such as the fact that Hawaii is still an independent country. Also, and here is the kicker, mythical creatures walk among humans as equals. Pretty amazing right? Or is your head hurting? Well either way trust me, it's worth the slight confusion at the beginning because once I was pulled into the world there was no turning back. The world is so vivid, so well written, that I can guarantee you'll be pulled in as well.
Bring on the characters shall we? We meet Scirye, the fiery young girl with a vendetta against her sister's killer. She is tired of being treated as a little girl and ready to prove herself. Then we are presented with Leech and Koko, two street urchins with secrets buried within them. Mysterious and hilarious, they are quite the duo! Finally we meet Bayang, a dragon who is disguised as an elderly lady and is the key to the whole journey. These four characters are so fantastic together! Their banter with one another is classic, and throughout their interactions there are so many lessons learned about friendship, understanding and forgiveness. There is a character for every reader to attach to and fall in love with.
I could write a whole novel about my appreciation for this book, but I'll end here. The long and short of it is simply this: City of Fire is a fantastic journey complete with realistic and magical elements. Although this written for the younger reader, I see a lot for us young adult and adult readers to love. If you're ready to be transported to a new world, let Laurence Yep take you there! This book gets the highest recommendation possible from me, and I can only hope that you agree.
Title: City of Fire
Author: Laurence Yep
Publisher: Starscape (Tor)
Pages: Hardcover; 320
Final Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart