I received this galley in consideration for an honest review.The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks
Series: The Nameless City #1
Published by First Second on April 5, 2016
Genres: Graphic Novel, Middle Grade
Every nation that invades the City gives it a new name. But before long, new invaders arrive and the City changes hands once again. The natives don't let themselves get caught up in the unending wars. To them, their home is the Nameless City, and those who try to name it are forever outsiders.
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.
I have only recently started reading graphic novels and, as I’m sure most of you know, there are a lot of awesome books out there to discover! I loved The Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks (seriously, it is so funny) so I was thrilled to read The Nameless City. The occupying forces think that they are the rightful owners of the City, and yet the people who have always lived there don’t need a name for it because it’s the only place they’ve ever known. As the jack copy says, those who try to name it are branded outsiders, which is an interesting set-up for a story that explores the power of names. There was a lot going on just under the surface of this story, and a lot of it seemed to be about identity, both in how you view yourself an how others see you. Kaidu is desperate to impress his leaders and his father, but his friendship with Rat slowly changes his view of the Dao. It was subtle, but also profound the way that Kai comes to view his people (the occupying force). Rat could have easily been in his training class, but because she was born a native of the city, she would never be able to train next to Kai. That realization was presented in a way that I think appeals to younger audiences, but that all reading ages will appreciate.
The city itself was so fascinating. There is a militarized feel to much of it, since it is always being occupied by one force or another, but in the middle there is an island of peace, so to speak, where the monks live. I loved the imagery of a haven in the middle of an ever-changing and somewhat unkind city. I hope this place will be explored in subsequent books because it was very intriguing. I feel funny commenting on the art since I am in no way qualified to judge, but for me, it enhanced the world. I loved looking at the detail of the frames and how the everything from the colors to the motion brought the story to life. The Nameless City was a good story, beautifully presented, and with themes and characters that will leave you wanting the next book as soon as possible. Even if you are new to graphic novels, I think this would be an excellent choice as a gateway read.