Bloomsbury USA Children's
January 22, 2012
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First they ventured deep under New York to save the city itself. Then things got personal as the Irregulars ventured into a haunted mansion in Chinatown to uncover an evil twin. Now, in the third installment of bestselling author Kirsten Miller's Kiki Strike series, this delightful group of delinquent geniuses jump feet first into a fast-paced international pursuit, going underground in Paris to pursue a pair of treacherous royals who have killed Kiki's parents. With a dash of romance, a fresh take on good manners, and loads of butt-kicking bravery, Kiki, Betty, Ananka and the other Irregulars sharpen their amazing skills in this highly anticipated new adventure.For whatever reason, I haven't read (and didn't really know much about) the previous Kiki Strike books. The series started with Inside the Shadow City and was followed by The Empress's Tomb, The Darkness Dwellers is the third book.
While it is the third book, it starts with an introduction -- a dossier, actually -- of its main characters, both the good and the bad. Readers are told who the Irregulars are - the group of girl geniuses who can also be a bit delinquent, too - and some of what's happened to them so far. The main villains and how they've played into the girls' lives are also in the dossier.
It was nice to have the introduction to the characters, but it seemed to be something that worked a bit better as a refresher for fans of the series. For those new to the series, it was a lot of information all at once and a lot that could get lost. The basic info was nice to have, though.
It was a lot of fun to have simultaneous plot lines happening at once with neither getting wrapped up before the other was focused on again. The way that different characters were involved in each kept it from being confusing yet the overlap of their lives and their friendships kept it all tied together.
The girls' friendships are a great part of the story. They do a great job of caring for and looking out for each other -- even if that means questioning one of their other friends. It can be difficult to have so many girls as friends, in a novel or in life, but Kirsten Miller seems to have manged it well. Each girl definitely has her own personality and they play well of of each other.
A few things were, as someone new to the series, slightly confusing and took a little while to figure out -- like just how old each of the characters were, especially given their actions and what they were allowed to do. At times it seemed as if they were older than fifteen and at times, almost, younger.
Their age and the content of Darkness Dwellers does make for a good Middle Grade/Young Adult crossover novel. Some older readers may wish for certain parts of the narrative to be developed more, for certain parts of the story to have more focus, but keeping the focus where it is allows the book to work for more ages.
Kiki Strike: The Darkness Dwellers is a fun and enjoyable read that will leave you wanting to read the rest of the series if you have not already. (Author Kirsten Miller's next, unrelated, novel How to Lead A Life of Crime will be released on February 21st.)
thank you to Bloomsbury and NetGalley for my e-galley