Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Kiki Strike: The Empress's Tomb

Kiki Strike: The Empress's Tomb

Kirsten Miller
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Bloomsbury USA Childrens, 2008   ISBN: 978-1599902975

Things are not looking good for Ananka. Her mother is on the warpath because Ananka's grades are getting worse and worse and because she has been caught sleeping in class. In fact, her mother has even gone so far as to threaten that she will send Ananka to a boarding school in the wilds of West Virginia if she doesn't shape up.

Why is Ananka doing so poorly in school? Because she is out with the Irregulars at all hours of course. Saving New Yorkers from crime and mapping out the remaining tunnels in the underground Shadow City takes time, hours when she should be fast asleep in her bed. Naturally, Ananka would not consider giving up her secret life. That would be unthinkable.

Then life get infinitely more complicated. First of all, a pack of over sized squirrels start to rob and even mug people in the streets. Then Oona discloses that her father is none other than Lester Liu, the Chinatown gangster who has committed all kinds of terrible crimes. Apparently Liu now wants to turn over a new leaf, to become a model citizen, and to make up for lost time with his daughter. Not surprisingly, Ananka and the other Irregulars are not convinced by this sudden personality change and they are worried about Oona. They are appalled when Oona turns her back on her friends and embraces her new life with her rich father.

When the Irregulars start to find runaway slaves near Lester Liu's new mansion home, they become even more suspicious. What is the gangster up to? Is he really eager to put his life of crime behind him or is there something sinister going on beneath the surface of his so-called charitable activities?

Packed with all kinds of deliciously ridiculous situations and wonderfully colorful characters, this second Kiki Strike title is sure to delight readers who enjoyed the first book in the series. Giant squirrels, a runaway boy, slaves on the loose, a hungry ghost wrecking havoc, stolen and forged artwork, a mummified empress, and secrets galore make this a book that readers will be hard pressed to put down. Told from Ananka’s point of view in her unmistakable teenage voice, this is a delightful and highly entertaining read.