Dragons, revenge, a vow made to the warrior goddess Nanaia to help her uphold an unbending code of honor, becoming friends with the Hawaiin goddess Pele and riding a lava surfboard through a volcano: Scirye has been through a lot in her young life. She and her friends–Leech, Koko the shape-shifting badger, the dragon Bayang, and her guardian, the lap griffin Kles–started off their adventures in Laurence Yep’s brilliant City of Fire, set in an alternate universe San Francisco and Hawaii of 1942. Trolls, fire imps, and ifrits are just some of the fantastic beings which populate the pages of his CityTrilogy, which continues in City of Ice.
City of Ice is an amazing sequel to Laurence Yep’s City of Fire. It is set in the Artic Circle, and Scirye and her friends are still pursuing the villianous and wealthy Mr. Roland and the evil dragon Badik to prevent them from obtaining the different parts of Yi’s magical bow. Badik stole the first part of the Five Lost Treasures of that form the bow in City of Fire.
With the help of a trader they meet, Prince Tarkhun, and his daughter, Roxanna, they chase Mr. Roland and Badik into the vaste and desolate Wastes. They have adventures to rival those of the first book of the series, and I found myself spell-bound by two-time Newberry Honor Award-Winning Laurence Yep’s captivating story. Mr. Roland didn’t seem to care too much that an entire island he had was destroyed in City of Fire, so whatever reason he wants to get the five treaures, he’s willing to go to any lengths to do so.
Just as in City of Fire, the story is told from the points of view of each of the three main characters: Scirye, Leech, and Bayang. Bayang now considers her companions to be like her own “hatchlings,” if she had any, and she protects them fiercely. She is able to change her shape to resemble a human and alter her size. She had been an assassin, tracking down and killing various past incarnations of Leech to stop him from becoming the murderer he was in a long-ago life.
Leech has arm bands which he can remove and use as platforms to fly on or as weapons. He has also begun to hear a voice in his head, telling him to kill Bayang before she kills him. He tries to fight against it and argue with it. It’s difficult to argue with past versions of yourself, though, as he discovers. Leech knows that Bayang has been protecting them and has at least seemed to have become a different dragon, giving up on her mission to kill him, and becoming a traitor to her own people. But, that does not silence the voices that keep harping at him to kill Bayang.
In City of Ice, Scirye and her companions face even more dangers, like freebooters, who are pirates that work for Mr. Roland. There’s also a mysterious witch-like hag who carries with her a sack. The sack is alive, and its opening is like a hungry mouth. The hag puts a sleeping spell on Scirye and her friends when they stop and camp one night, and Scirye (who is supposed to be keeping watch), barely wakes up in time to prevent the hag from feeding everyone in their tent to the sack.
Mr. Roland has other henchmen who have human bodies but dogs’ heads, and a touch from them rots flesh. Scirye and her firends also encounter a talking polar bear who befriends them, and they get to ride on narwhals, among their other adventures. Scirye realizes that the vow she made to Nanaia is a very serious one–those who have gone back on their vows to her have had terrible things happen to them. She is often a kind, just goddess, but she has a stern warrior side, also, and she despises anyone who breaks their vows to her.
City of Ice is a fantastic and memorable sequel to City of Fire. It is a page-turning, action-filled novel that can be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone, but I highly recommend you read City of Fire, also, because it’s a great book, too. I can hardly wait to read and review the third book, City of the Dead, when it comes out! If you like to read fantasy novels filled with action and adventure, this is the book for you!