|Inside the Shadow City|
First edition cover
|Media type||Print (Hardback)|
|LC Classification||PZ7.M6223 Kik 2006|
|Followed by||The Empress's Tomb|
The Kiki Strike series by Kirsten Miller is a series of novels revolving around the adventures of six girls in Manhattan, and currently consists of three books (Inside the Shadow City, The Empress's Tomb and The Darkness Dwellers).
Five delinquent Girl Scouts, a million hungry rats, one secret city beneath Manhattan, and a butt-kicking girl superspy- Welcome to the world of Kiki Strike''
Told from Ananka's point of view, these books describe the adventures of the Irregulars, a group of girls who join together to explore the underground city under Manhattan called "The Shadow City."
Ananka Fishbein (pronounced un-AH-nka Fish Ben)
Ananka attends a private school called Atalanta, and lives in a small apartment nearby that is crammed with books on every subject imaginable. Although she does not believe it, she is quite intelligent and very eccentric. She has brown, mousey hair,(some people believe she has glasses, but this is just something the illustrator has added in of her own accord) and thinks of her self as very unattractive. Later in the book, she is given a makeover by Betty, and finally sees herself as pretty.
When asked what she would like to be when she grows up, she says she would like to study the Giant Squid. At the beginning of the book, she needs to be led by Kiki Strike, but by the end she is a leader herself.
Ananka is not gifted in school, but she learns much more important things, such as how to survive in dangerous situations and to look at things and see them as they were in the past. Her parents do not recognize her special talents, and are instead very focused on how she does in school. Her grandfather was a rat lover and invented a way to safely and effectively get rid of them, The Reverse Pied Piper.
Besides narrating the series, Ananka also writes the interesting sidebars found at the end of each chapter, which teach useful skills.
Kiki Strike is a small, white-haired girl who founds the Irregulars and is often considered the leader of the group. Although her platinum hair, height of under five feet, and unhealthily pale complexion are off-putting, she is said to be extremely attractive but she's very small. Her real name is actually 'Katarina Galatzina' but this was changed when she was poisoned.
Kiki is always determined to help everybody who needs help. She is clever, and knows multiple languages and martial arts. She also is reputed to have an extensive knowledge of weaponry from her caregiver, Verushka. Kiki's cousin, Princess Sidonia, is also her arch nemesis, whose mother poisoned Kiki's whole family, and even Kiki. Sidonia is determined to kill Kiki, because as long as Kiki lives, she might someday rule. Kiki in turn wants to get Sidonia's pink diamond ring so that she can use the inscribed instructions to find directions to the proof that Sidonia's mother had killed her mother. Kiki was left allergic to almost everything except cafe au lait and a special nutritious gruel that Veruksha prepares for her. She has escaped to New York, with her caregiver and friend Verushka Kozlova, whom she lives with. She is sometimes bossy, and very ambitious.
Luz Lopez is the 'electro-genius' (inventor) and she is good friends with DeeDee Morlock, but often clashes with her, quick to point out the fact that DeeDee is much more well off and privileged than she. She has installed her a fire extinguisher which saves Deedee's life many a time. Although Luz is innocent, she has a criminal record which she is often worried about. She is very poor, but more than meets the eye.
DeeDee Morlock is an incredibly talented chemist. She is very clumsy, but very kind and shy. She is the daughter of a chemistry professor. She gets in a bad accident during one of the Irregulars' adventures in The Shadow City.
We are introduced to her at yet another Girl Scouts meeting, where we are told she has just "succeeded in refining a particularly dangerous strain of botulism". She is the scientist of the groups, and during the course of the series crafts many clever concoctions, including several explosives and Morlock's Miracle Mixture, a self-made substance which repels poisons when digested, and Fille Fiable a concoction used to make one seem trustworthy.
The third Irregular to be introduced to us, Betty Bent is a master of disguise. Her parents are theater costume designers, and Betty is always in a self-made disguise. She rarely shows her true face, even though she attends the Girl Scouts weekly. When going to meet Betty, two scouts mistake Ananka for Betty and accidentally insult her. However, despite her idiosyncrasies, the other Girl Scouts worship Betty for her disguises, and are kind to her. Betty is incredibly shy, sweet and forgiving, rarely clashing with the others' strong personalities. She is very brave. She also makes the costumes, disguises, and uniforms for the group.
A disgraced daughter of Lester Liu, the leader of the Fu Tsang gang. She is a hacker, and a good one at that. She forges birth certificates, driving licenses, and even illegal maps. She is a very elegant, but also a kind of assertive girl. She is Chinese, and is described as being very beautiful. She has her own nail studio, which brings in lots of money. However, she makes even more, often partially illegal money from the salon because the rich clients believe that the salon girls do not understand English. This leads them to discuss important, and often money-making deals and pieces of information with their friends, most of which Oona picks up and uses to help her get more money. Her job in the group when in the Shadow City is to pick locks. She does this very well and starts to like it after she gets over grumbeling about it. She has a strong personality and can be VERY mean to many old ladies that don't deserve it.
In the end an honorary member of the Irregulars, Iris is known as the little girl who is always saving the Irregulars lives. She is often picked on by Oona, as she is the youngest and smallest of the Irregulars. She is eleven, though is also credited for looking like an eight year old. Iris is first mentioned in the series in the first book, as she encounters the Irregulars as they are escaping from the Shadow City.
- Miller, Kirsten (30 May 2006). Inside the Shadow City (1st ed. ed.). London: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC. ISBN 978-1-58234-960-2.