December 19, 2017

The Stone Heart: The Nameless City, Book 2

Written and illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks
Colored by Jordie Bellaire
First Second
243 pp.
Ages 8-13

Yesterday I jumped on The Nameless City bandwagon with my review of the first book in this trilogy (The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks, First Second, 2016) and am fortunate to have been able to read the second book The Stone Heart immediately. Now I just wish September 2018, the release date for Book 3 The Divided Earth, wasn't months away.

When we left the Nameless City in Book 1 of the series, Kaidu and Rat had helped save the ruler, the General of All Blades, and his son Erzi from assassination.  It is three months later and the General is proceeding with the plan of General Andren, Kaidu's father, to unite the factions of the Nameless City and beyond in one council.  Erzi believes the plan absurd but more so because he had always envisioned himself as the city's next ruler.

"You promised it to me." (pg. 19)

From The Stone Heart 
by Faith Erin Hicks
The secret of how the Northern People tunnelled through the mountain is at the heart of the power struggle and peace in the Nameless City and it seems everyone wants to learn all they can. There are legends of a great fire that could burn through rock and flesh but it is generally accepted that, even if the formula were discovered, perhaps hidden by the monks at the Stone Heart, no one now has the ability to translate their language.  Through back stories, we learn that Erzi's bodyguard, Mura, once lived at the monastery at the Stone Heart and was turned out after which she was rescued by Erzi.  She obviously harbours much bitterness towards the monks and this comes to play after Erzi becomes the new General of All Blades and the search for the formula drives them to storm the Stone Heart for answers.
From The Stone Heart
by Faith Erin Hicks
The clash of peoples who want different things for the Nameless City and for themselves is at the core of The Stone Heart.  Erzi's father is attempting to embrace all who live within the city and outside to help rule but Erzi will not have it, knowing the power he would lose.  How to balance the needs of a few over the greater good is key in The Stone Heart, and, needless to say, there is much violence, discrimination and power struggles as this balance is set askew. Faith Erin Hicks's story is both adventure and character study, a fine mix of "What's going to happen next? and "Did he really do that?"

It is only in The Divided Earth that we will learn how the Nameless City will be saved, and saved it will be surely with Kai and Rat at the front of the pack.

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