Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Kiki Strike Inside the Shadow City

Kiki Strike Inside the Shadow City

Kirsten Miller
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 to and up
Bloomsbury, 2006   ISBN: 978-1582349602

Life for Ananka Fishbein is pretty boring until she turns twelve. Then, early one Saturday morning, a large sinkhole opens up in the park near her apartment. Ananka can see the hole from her bedroom window and as she watches a small and decided peculiar looking person climbs out of the hole and waves at her. Of course Ananka just has to go to investigate the hole and at its bottom she discovers a room, a secret room which by rights should not be there at all.

Ananka decides to find out all she can about the structures and tunnels that run beneath New York City hoping that she might run across a reference to the room she saw. In fact she does even better than that. She learns that a whole miniature city lies under her feet somewhere, a city once used by the criminal elements and which was named the Shadow City. If only there was a way to get down there.

Not long after Ananka meets someone who also wants to get to the Shadow City. This person is none other than the creature she saw climbing out of the hole on that Saturday morning. Very small, incredibly pale and with white hair, Kiki Strike is a mystery and Ananka cannot help wanting to find out more about her. Ananka gets her wish, in a way, for Kiki recruits her and four other girls to help her get into and explore the Shadow City. Each girl has a special skill which she uses to help make the mission a success and for a while the six girls walk through the rat infested tunnels beneath the great City of New York finding all kinds of curious things. Then disaster strikes and Kiki vanishes leaving Ananka and the others wondering if she was a force for good or for evil.

With great skill and imagination the author of this gripping novel weaves together a story about a singular mystery girl who keeps everyone who comes into contact with her on their toes. Told from Ananka’s point of view readers will be privy to all that happens in this often bizarre tale though they will not find out who and what Kiki is until the end of the story. In addition to the story there are tips at the end of each chapter to help readers improve their own observation and super-spy techniques which may come in handy some day. After all you never know when you might be called on to join a secret group of underage crime fighters.

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