Inside the Shadow City is the first in Kirsten Miller’s Kiki Strike series. The book is narrated by a girl named Ananka Fishbein, who at 12 befriends the enigmatic Kiki Strike.
On one fateful Sunday morning, Ananka looks out the window and notices a large sinkhole in the middle of a park in New York. Already primed to investigate, she also sees an odd, mud-covered creature climb out of the pit. It seems to beckon to her before disappearing.
Ananka daringly hurries out of her apartment to take a closer look. She finds a rope leading into the sinkhole and adventures down.
Ananka doesn’t know what to expect, but she’s shocked when she find an entire room filled with furniture that looks like it hasn’t been seen for the last two centuries. When she grabs a small book from a shelf in the room, she finds a secret door concealed in the floor.
After going through that door and down a long steel ladder, Ananka finds a long hallway lined with many doors. Before she can explore more, she realizes she must leave before anyone else can discover what she has.
When Ananka returns the next day, the hole is filled, and she loses access to underground world she discovered.
But Ananka’s new book discusses these mysterious underground rooms, which together are known as the Shadow City. The book reveals that the subterranean city is even larger than Ananka had imagined.
Ananka spends the next few months researching and seeking out a way to return to the Shadow City, but her research is futile. She can find no mention of the city besides what’s written in her borrowed book.
In the meantime, a mysterious girl named Kiki Strike shows up in Ananka’s class. No one else seems to even notice the girl. Students look through her as if she’s invisible, and teachers never call on her in class. While searching for the Shadow City, Ananka also tries to learn anything she can about Kiki.
Over time Ananka learns more about the secretive Kiki, and the two eventually assemble a group of intelligent misfits called the Irregulars to help protect and rediscover the Shadow City together.
Inside the Shadow City allows readers to follow Ananka on her adventure to help protect the city from people who want to use it for less desirable purposes.
We loved this book because it exemplifies the very definition of girl power. Ananka is a strong-willed and adventurous young girl with a lot of determination, and a great role model that readers can aspire to be.
Throughout the book, Ananka gives advice to female readers on defying expectations and being the best they can be. If you’re into mystery books with adventurous plots and strong female leads, you’ll likely fall for the Kiki Strike series.
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