Reviews for City of Fire

Booklist Reviews 2009 September #1
Revenge unites unlikely allies: an assassin who is also a dragon, a princess with a griffin for a bodyguard, and an orphan with multipurpose jewelry and a shape-changing sidekick. They are on the trail of the nefarious Mr. Roland, who has stolen a sacred relic and killed the princess's sister in an alternate reality 1941 San Francisco. Their pursuit takes them to a newly formed island near Honolulu where, with the help of the quirky goddess Pele, they attempt to stop Roland in his quest to gather five magical objects that will give him control of the world. Stuffed with intricate detail and complemented by a short note indicating a connection to real-world history, this first installment in a new trilogy introduces the characters, who host the story in alternating chapters, and sends the intrepid band on a hair-raising quest in and around lava tubes and floes. Yet the bad guy escapes at the end, and readers will be on tenterhooks awaiting the next episode of this exhilarating chase. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Spring
A dragon attacks a museum exhibit in a magical alternate San Francisco, circa 1941. Three children, a miniature griffin, and a disguised dragon join forces and hunt the creature to avenge their personal losses. A capricious deity and a world-threatening subplot complete this projected trilogy opener. An artful blend of fantasy and history shapes the story. Bib. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2009 July #2
Set in an alternate 1941 in which there's no world war and humans share the world with hordes of imps, trolls, shapechangers, gods and every other type of creature that Yep can conjure from world mythology, this opener to a planned City Trilogy pits a squad of unlikely allies against bad guys with a shadowy but ominous agenda. Banding together after surviving an evil dragon's smash-and-grab theft of an ancient artifact from a San Francisco museum, young orphan Leech joins belligerent preteen aristocrat Scirye, along with Bayang (a dragon in disguise) and two other nonhuman sidekicks in a long chase to Hawaii--where, with help from the volcano goddess Pele, they barely escape a tsunami-sized trap as the villains wing away with a second artifact. The chase goes on, heading for the icy North. The author's consistent habit of freezing attacks for exchanges of threats or banter turns most of the action scenes into leisurely set pieces, but such scenes follow one another in quick succession in this plot-driven tale, and the cast is as engaging as it is diverse. (afterword, bibliography) (Fantasy. 10-12) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews

They couldn't be more different: 12-year-old Scirye is the well-traveled daughter of a noble family from the ancient Kushan empire in central Asia. Leech, also 12, is a boy of the streets who trusts no one. And Bayang is only disguised as human while she seeks out Leech, who she has been assigned to kill because he was a murderer of her kind in a past life. Yet in Yep's alternate 1941 San Francisco--in which sprites, naiads, and other magical creatures coexist with humans--the disparate characters come together as tenuous allies when a dragon attacks them and steals a priceless Kushan artifact. As the heroes learn to trust each other and uncover who ordered the dragon attack as well as the secrets of the powerful artifact, they make their way to the Kingdom of Hawaii, where they encounter the tempestuous goddess Pele, a risky ally. As usual, Yep successfully mixes adventure, history (of the often overlooked variety), colorful period detail, and magic with characters that young readers will want to follow into the next book in this promising planned trilogy. Ages 11--14. (Sept.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2009 November

Gr 4-8--In this first volume of a trilogy set in an alternate world, the ancient Kushan Empire, stretching from northern India to western China, still exists in 1941 and has loaned its most precious archaeological treasures to a museum in San Francisco. Recalling Phillip Pullman's Oxford, Yep creates a recognizable but startling city peopled with sprites, trolls, imps, and pixies, a place where magic and technology coexist. The main characters assemble at an official ceremony opening the exhibition: Scirye, aristocratic daughter of a Kushan diplomat; her lap griffin Kles; Leech, a street child; his trickster sidekick Koko; and Bayang, a female dragon disguised as a Pinkerton agent. As an earthquake interrupts the ceremony, Badik, an evil dragon, steals an ancient archer's ring, killing Scirye's sister and Leech's protector in the process. Recognizing Badik as an old enemy, Bayang joins forces with the youngsters on a quest for revenge. Together, they follow Badik and his master Roland, an internationally famous entrepreneur, to Hawaii, where Roland is corrupting natural forces to build a volcanic island. Developing solidarity as they confront escalating dangers, the five team up with Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes. Yep's varied human, animal, and mythic cast is reminiscent of those found in Lewis Carroll and L. Frank Baum. Readers who follow the diverse protagonists as they come to understand and love one another as family will be eager to follow their adventures into the next volume.--Margaret A. Chang, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams

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VOYA Reviews 2009 December
It is 1941 in San Francisco, where citizens share their city with shape-shifters, flying dragons, people with magical powers, and goddesses. The book begins with an introduction of four strangers who decide to go to the Hearn Museum for various reasons. Bayang, disguised as an old woman, goes because her prey, Leech, and his friend, Koko, will be there. Twelve-year-old Scirye attends because her mother, Lady Sudarshane, is a liaison for the new exhibit that features Kushan treasures. While spectators admire the exhibit, four large monsters fly in and attack them. Everyone, including Scirye, a scarcely trained fighter, snaps into warrior mode, but they cannot prevent Batik, the lead monster, from stealing the archer's ring and destroying the mummy, Lady Tabiti. Before the monsters escape, they kill Scirye's older sister and Leech's bodyguard. Determined to avenge their deaths, Scirye, Leech, Koko, and a reluctant Bayang, board a carpet in pursuit of Batik and his accomplice Mr. Roland. Readers will enjoy the bond that develops among the characters even as Bayang struggles to carry out orders to assassinate Leech. Equally interesting is the turmoil, action, and fighting in many scenes. Yep does a fine job of telling the story through multiple perspectives, and the descriptions of historical artifacts, dragons, lap griffins (Scirye's feathered pet with wings), and shape-shifters are vivid, giving this first installment in a trilogy just the right blend of history and fantasy. Yep fans will be pleased.--KaaVonia Hinton-Johnson 4Q 3P M Copyright 2009 Voya Reviews.