Faith Erin Hicks’ latest graphic novel is set in ancient China and follows the lives of two very different inhabitants in the Nameless City. Kai has arrived to be trained in the occupying army’s military school, but Rat has lived her whole life as a native of the city. Their friendship in the beginning is as rocky as the relationship between their separate peoples. As Hicks develops their connection, she builds an understanding of the political turmoil around them. The story arc is intriguing and the characters beguiling—all without being too inaccessible for middle grade readers.
Hicks has won the Eisner Award for one of her previous works, and deservedly so. Her artwork is detailed without being cluttered and every frame draws you on to the next. As a bonus, she includes a variety of sketches at the end of the book to show how she refined each character. The Nameless City is an excellent addition to any middle grade graphic novel collection. The kids will love it.
Jennifer Bruer Kitchel is the librarian for a Pre-K through 8th level Catholic school.