________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 3. . . .September 23, 2016


The Nameless City.

Faith Erin Hicks. Color by Jordie Bellaire.
New York, NY: First Second/Roaring Brook Press (Distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books), 2016 .
240 pp., trade pbk., $17.50.
ISBN 978-1-62672-156-2.

Subject Headings:
Cities and towns-Juvenile fiction.
Survival-Juvenile fiction.
Friendship-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 6-10 / Ages 11-15.

Review by Laura Dunford.

*** /4



...on the 34th day of our journey down the River of Lives, we came to the great City, Daidu.

But something was amiss, for the City was not called Daidu by those we spoke to at its games. We asked the horse people of the Eastern Plain what the name of the City was, and they replied that it was Yanjing, after their greatest general, long dead.

We asked the people of the River what the City was called and they said it was Monkh, after one of their gods.

Finally we asked the warrior people of the Blade Empire, what was the name of this great City? They replied that it was DanDao after themselves, for they had conquered it.

Then we asked the children who lived in the streets of the City to give us its name, and they laughed at our foolishness.

But as visitors, how could be know that it is only outsiders who name the City?

The City is named over and over, and no conquerors can name it for long.

We move on in our journey down the great River of Lives, and behind us we leave the City of a thousand names...

...the City of no name...
The Nameless City.


The Nameless City, set in a fictional ancient realm, is the first in a series of graphic novels by Faith Erin Hicks. In this initial installment, readers are introduced to the City alongside newly arrived Kaidu. Kai is one of the Dao, who currently control the City, and the son of a powerful general. Outside the walls of the palace, Kai meets Rat, a native of the Nameless City who shows him the hidden heart of the realm. Together, the son of a conqueror and the streetwise orphan form an unlikely friendship.

     The story touches on issues from friendship and bullying to racism and poverty. Luckily, Hicks is able to weave these themes into her story without weighing it down. She does a wonderful job of intertwining images and dialogue to flesh out the setting and add an extra layer to the characters and their interactions. The Nameless City is a fantastic mix of coming-of-age adventure, comedy, fantasy, and drama that will appeal across all ages and genders.


Laura Dunford is a graduate of the Master of Arts in Children’s Literature program at the University of British Columbia.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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