The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks

I received this galley in consideration for an honest review.

The Nameless City by Faith Erin HicksThe 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.


About Faith Erin Hicks

Faith Erin Hicks is a Canadian writer and artist. She worked in the animation industry for several years before transitioning into writing and drawing comics full time in 2008. She started making comics “for fun” and putting them on the web when she was in college. Her first published work was Zombies Calling (SLG Publishing) in 2007. Since then, she has published a number of other graphic novels, including The War at Ellsmere (SLG), Brain Camp (with Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan, First Second Books), Friends with Boys (First Second Books), Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong (with Prudence Shen, First Second Books), The Adventures of Superhero Girl (Dark Horse Comics), The Last of Us: American Dreams (with Neil Druckmann, Dark Horse Comics), and the Bigfoot Boy series (with J. Torres, Kids Can Press). She won an Eisner Award in 2014 for The Adventures of Superhero Girl.  Faith currently lives in Vancouver, BC with her partner, Tim, and their helpful cat.


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