by Kirsten Miller
Published by Bloomsbury
on January 22, 2013
Source: ARC from publisher. My FTC disclosure is in the right sidebar.
Level: middle grade/tween
Summary (from Goodreads): 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.
I couldn't wait until my kids started school, so I could
get rid of thembe a library volunteer. Both my kids' schools have a policy that parents can't volunteer for their own child's class, so I always request a slot with the older grades. I could tell right away that there was something special about the Kiki Strike books. The girls were crazy about them. They'd take the books right off the shelving cart. When I saw that there was a new Kiki book coming out, I asked a big Kiki fan if she'd read it and give me the scoop for the blog. She was about to take midterms but she had time to fill me in:
Q: Tell me why you love these books.
A: My friends and I all read the first two books (Inside the Shadow City and The Empress' Tomb) and we were all waiting and waiting forever for the next book to come out.* We heard that there would be a third book and that it would be about Betty. I was really excited about that because Betty is my favorite character. She's really nice and the other girls all think she's too sweet and naive. In this book she surprises everyone but coming up with most of the plans.
Q: Tell me about the Irregulars.
A: The Irregulars are a group of girls who explore the Shadow City. That's this mysterious place underneath New York. Ananka is the one who narrates all the stories. In the first book, she gets blamed for stealing another girl's ring, and Kiki Strike helps her clear her name. Then Kiki invites Ananka to join the Irregulars.
Q: Who's Kiki? And who are the other girls in the Irregulars?
A: Kiki is this very mysterious girl. She's extremely pale and allergic to everything, because she survived being poisoned when she was little. Kiki's mother was the Queen of Pokrovia and died after being poisoned by her own sister. Another Irregular is Oona, whose dad smuggles stuff. In book two, Oona's dad tries to kill her by trapping her in a mummy case. I already told you about Betty. Then there's Luz, who's good at making gadgets. Deedee is a chemist.
Q: So all the girls have special talents. What happens in the new book?
A: Kiki has a ring that tells where to find hidden evidence about her parents' killer. Kiki wants to claim the throne so she can make Pokrovia into a democracy. So she goes to Paris to get the evidence but she gets kidnapped and locked in a bell tower. Betty also goes to Paris with this woman who says she's an etiquette expert, but she just zombifies girls.
Q: Who are the Darkness Dwellers?
A: They're this group that protects the catacombs underneath Paris.
Q: What did you think of the new book?
A: It was great. It had a whole bunch of different plots that all came together at the end. In Paris, they find this group that's killing people and have to stop them. Kiki has to try to get the throne back. Then Kiki meets this French boy named Etienne.
Q: Does that mean romance for Kiki?
A: A little bit.
Q: What were some of the themes in the book?
A: Friendship. Not judging a book by its cover. Not underestimating people. Things that are hidden beneath the surface.
Q: Like the Shadow City and the catacombs! Do you think there is going to be another book?
A: Well, at the end of the book, the Irregulars come back to New York and there is a hint that Etienne does too. So there could be. I hope so!
Q: What do you think would happen in the next book?
A: Most of the stories were resolved. It could be about Oona's sister Lily. She's her fraternal twin and goes around doing bad stuff while pretending she's Oona.
Twins and doubles are really popular in YA right now, so I can see that. Thanks for doing this guest review. Good luck on your exams!
*Note from Jen: I knew the girls were dying of impatience for the third book. I think Kirsten Miller was probably working on a different series, The Eternal Ones (2010) and All You Desire (2011) during that time. I have read these two books and recommend them!