The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks

Imagine if you were on a road trip journeying to new and unknown places. You stop to sight see and ask some local people what the name of the city they've stopped at is, for it had no sign. They reply with a great and splendid name with its origins. You move on. Then, you visit a store along your journey and get into a conversation about the city and a new name for the city pops up... how odd. You find as you continue to travel along the city's lakes, parks, and markets that the city is called something different in each area. But, then you meet the real local natives whose had generations of family that have been around since the beginning of the city's creation. They simply call the town, The Nameless City.             
The Nameless City is by my girl Faith Erin Hicks who wrote and illustrated Friends with Boys and adapted Prudence Shen's YA novel - Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong. Faith Erin Hicks has done so much more but let me tell you - she's brilliant from the very little I've read by her. Her drawing style is amazing and she is a phenomenal storyteller. I waited so long to read The Nameless City for some strange, absurd reason because I know her track record with her books has been amazing for me. The Nameless City was no exception.

Kaidu, a soldier in training, is new to Dao (The Nameless City) his father is a general that acts more like a librarian/historian. He's never met his father so he wants to get to know him while he trains in the city. His father inadvertently introduces Kaidu to Rat, a street girl who likes to run and jump on rooftops in the city. Rat is distrusting of Kaidu at first but decides to train him how to run like she does after another chance meeting when her ego was bruised. In exchange, he'll provide her with lots of food. Along the way, they must learn to rely on each other because a city with a thousand names, being conquered as many times as it has, doesn't just stay peaceful forever.

Kaidu and Rat are an incredible duo. Kaidu has a very sort of sheltered view of the city. He doesn't know much about the world and different types of people before he arrives in the city. He has a funny sense of humor but his personality would be better characterized as determined. 

Rat has an ego on her. She can get angry but in a funny comic sort of way. She forms this bridge of cross-cultural knowledge between the Dao and the Skral (foreigners although it really just means non Dao). I loved Rat's confidence in her self and her abilities. Even her negative beliefs about the Dao didn't stop her from getting to know Kaidu which says a lot about her willingness to grow as a character. While Kaidu, is the positive open minded person from the beginning. 

There are a couple of side characters I want to mention because their bond is one that I see as a correlation between Kaidu and Rat. They are both unlikely friends, Erzi a trainer of Dao and Mura a non Dao. Mura is a great fighter. She acts like a shield to Erzi and helps train the Dao with her fighter's prowess. I enjoyed the little interaction I saw of these two. I am hoping to see more of their history alongside with Kaidu and Rat in The Stone Heart.

The Nameless City shows how people from different backgrounds can come together to help each other and become friends. Faith Erin Hicks succeeds in creating a story line worth reading, with characters that break through the conflicts and prejudice of the city's people. I'm 100% recommending this graphic novel and Faith Erin Hicks as a writer and illustrator. I'm thrilled to go on more adventurous with our parkour loving duo.

What unlikely friendship stories have you enjoyed?


  1. I do like the look of this (which is most important to me ;) Pretty pics :D And of course good story

  2. I love graphic novels and this sounds amazing. I haven't read any books by this author- but I am looking forward to this one already. :)

  3. Oh, I love Faith Erin Hicks - and this book! I have the sequel but it's been so long, I think I need to re-read this one and then read the second. It's much easier to re-read graphic novels. haha



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