Thursday, February 14, 2013

Kiki Strike: The Darkness Dwellers, Kirsten Miller

From the preface:  There are plenty of impatient people in this world who will pick up a book and thumb past its preface. You should be proud you're not one of them. The point of a preface is to prepare you for the story you're about to read. And when it comes to the dark and dangerous tale that's written on these pages, you'll need all the preparation you can get.

I'll admit, I'm generally one of those people who skip the preface. But not this time. I was so, so, so, so excited for the release of the third book in the Kiki Strike series. I've been waiting so long, and I didn't manage to win an ARC from Kirsten Miller's blog. But it's here, finally. In the third (and final) book, Kiki has gone to claim the throne of Pokrovia, but she is waylaid in Paris, with Sidonia planning to pose as the real princess Katarina! If that's confusing to you, read the first two books. Betty must go to Paris to deliver something to Kiki. And Ananka must hold down the fort back in New York City. Oh, and Oona's evil twin Lili Liu is causing trouble by stealing, and everything thinks it's Oona who's been doing it! As if that wasn't enough, Ananka is also stealing trying to avoid stealing Betty's boyfriend while she's in Paris.

As you can see, there's quite a lot going on in this book. Perhaps a bit too much. Still, intrigue abounds, making for a fairly good third book. The plot line that I didn't like was about Ananka and Kaspar. It didn't feel right, and I never got any sense in The Empress's Tomb that Ananka liked Kaspar more than any girl would like a cute guy. It made the book more YA-like, which is not necessarily a good thing.

However, I was very happy that Kirsten Miller kept the tips at the end of every other chapter or so. In The Darkness Dwellers, each page types if from "The Fishbein Guide to...", imitating the style of the finishing school, except that the tips are much more useful.

Some new characters are introduced in this one: Etienne and Marcel, two wannabe Darkness Dwellers in Paris, who discover Kiki and aid Kiki and Betty in their adventures. But what are those adventures? One of my criticisms of The Darkness Dwellers, is, in fact, that there's not much of a ddriving plot. Le Institut Beauregard wasn't that interesting to me, and neither was the back-story behind its headmistress. The Darkness Dwellers lacks some of that Kiki Strike aura that the first two do. It's still a good book, just less so. Somehow, it just didn't pull me in like the other two do. It was partly because Ananka was less featured, and when she was, she was acting kind of snotty. Also, we don't get to see much of Luz and Dee Dee. Part of the letdown was also that I let myself get way too excited over its release. I still enjoyed The Darkness Dwellers, but it wasn't nearly as good as Inside the Shadow City or The Empress's Tomb. It also has a new cover, which is pretty cool, but it's still disappointing that it doesn't match the first two. There are reissues of the new cover for the first two books.

Read Kiki Strike: the Darkness Dwellers:
  • if you liked the first two books in the series
  • if you like books set in Paris or New York
  • if you like books with underground tunnels
403 pages.
Very Good! I would recommend this book!


  1. I usually skip the preface if it's a classic book because I know it's just someone else writing in a book by another author so it doesn't really do anything for me. Saying that if there is a preface for a regular book and sometimes for classics (intro/preface) I'll read it.

    I didn't know this was part of a series! Good thing you told me or I might have ruined something reading on. I've seen this around so I've been interested. The cover and summary look interesting. It feels like it possibly could have a mystery? At least I know you liked enough to try to win it and rated it a 4 (:

    1. You should definitely try the first book! I really love the first and second books.