cover image City of Fire

City of Fire

Laurence Yep. Tor/Starscape, $15.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7653-1924-1

They couldn't be more different: 12-year-old Scirye is the well-traveled daughter of a noble family from the ancient Kushan empire in central Asia. Leech, also 12, is a boy of the streets who trusts no one. And Bayang is only disguised as human while she seeks out Leech, who she has been assigned to kill because he was a murderer of her kind in a past life. Yet in Yep's alternate 1941 San Francisco%E2%80%94in which sprites, naiads, and other magical creatures coexist with humans%E2%80%94the disparate characters come together as tenuous allies when a dragon attacks them and steals a priceless Kushan artifact. As the heroes learn to trust each other and uncover who ordered the dragon attack as well as the secrets of the powerful artifact, they make their way to the Kingdom of Hawaii, where they encounter the tempestuous goddess Pele, a risky ally. As usual, Yep successfully mixes adventure, history (of the often overlooked variety), colorful period detail, and magic with characters that young readers will want to follow into the next book in this promising planned trilogy. Ages 11%E2%80%9414. (Sept.)