*The Stone Heart is the second book in Hicks’ Nameless City trilogy which begins with The Nameless City. This review contains spoilers for book one.*
Kaidu and Rat are still recovering after stopping the assassination of the General of All Blades. In the wake of the assassination, the Nameless City seems peaceful and there is reason to hope things will stay that way.
The General of All Blades and Kaidu’s father are working to create a council of all the nations that claim the City as their home to stop the constant fighting to claim the City as territory. But not everyone supports the idea of a council and its promise to change the Dao way of life in the city forever.
As conflict begins to fracture the Dao nation from within, Kaidu discovers a formula for a powerful weapon–a secret that has been protected for generations and something Rat might be able to decipher. Sharing the formula with the Dao could mean giving the City’s current conquerors a dangerous edge. Hiding it could make peace even harder to achieve. Kai and Rat already did the unthinkable by becoming friends and saving the General of All Blades. Will they be able to do it again to bring peace to the City before its too late? in The Stone Heart (2016) by Faith Erin Hicks.
The Stone Heart is the second book in Hicks’ Nameless City trilogy which begins with The Nameless City. This review contains spoilers for book one.
The Stone Heart picks up a few weeks after the conclusion of The Nameless City bringing readers back to the City that Rat calls home and the place Kai is coming to care about.
Hicks uses the relative calm at the beginning of this installment to expand the world of the City as Rat shows Kai more of her world and introduces her to several new characters. This expanded view helps to bring the City into clearer focus and situates the story within the larger context of the world Hicks has created based on thirteenth century China (as mentioned in an author’s note which talks a bit about her research process). Hicks’ full-color artwork is as stunning as ever and once again brings Kai and Rat’s story vividly to life.
When the uneasy truce that Kai and Rat helped bring to fruition falls apart spectacularly, the story moves in an unexpected direction and new villains emerge. Will Kai and Rat be able to save the City? Will the mysterious formula Kai and Rat found fall into the wrong hands? Readers will have to wait for trilogy’s exciting conclusion to see how everything comes together. Recommended for readers looking for a new comic adventure and those who enjoy their adventure served with a side of strong-but-unlikely friendships.
Possible Pairings: The City of Brass* by S. A. Chakraborty, The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi, Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff; Truthwitch by Susan Dennard; Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke; Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi; Last Descendants by Matthew J. Kirby; The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag; Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson; Compass South by Hope Larson and Rebecca Mock; Bone by Jeff Smith; The Okay Witch by Emma Steinkellner
*Bear in mind that The Nameless City is a middle grade graphic novel while The City of Brass is adult fantasy so while both books explore similar themes the intended audiences are vastly different.
*An advance copy of this review was provided by the publisher for review consideration*