The Burning Cityby Alaya Dawn Johnson
In The Burning City, Alaya Dawn Johnson continues the trilogy begun with her debut, Racing the Dark, delving deeper into the world of magic wielded by women who understand the dark trade-offs of power and sacrifice. Lana, the heroine, has become the black ange l a harbinger of destruction unheard of in the islands for 500 years. Nui'ahi, the sleeping volcano of the great city Essel, has erupted. In the chaos, the city is reshaping itself and violence threatens from all corners. A rebel movement has formed in the destroyed heart of the city, determined to oust Kohaku, the mad Mo'i of Essel. Lana wants no part of the rebels' cause the death spirit still chases her, and the great witch Akua has kidnapped Lana's mother. But the more Lana looks for her mother, the more she is drawn into the city's political conflicts. As Kohaku descends deeper into madness, determined to subdue the city by any means necessary, his wife has run away to the fire temple, where she too is slowly converted to the rebel's cause. When long-running tensions spill over into civil war, Lana must make her hardest decision yet: her mother's life, or a city's freedom?
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Meet the Author
Alaya Dawn Johnson was born in 1982 and graduated from Columbia University, where she studied East Asian languages and culture, and lived in Japan on a study abroad program, where she began this book. She has published short fiction in several magazines, and two of her stories were republished in the anthologies Year’s Best SF 11 and Year’s Best Fantasy 6. She lives in New York.
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I love fantasy books, but not this one. It was way out there. Main character was not believable, even in a fantasy novel.
Three years after the release of the first volume, "Racing the Dark," Alaya Dawn Johnson's Spirit Binder trilogy remains a welcome relief from the cookie-cutter novels that dominate the shelves of YA fantasy. "The Burning City" builds on the promise of "Racing the Dark," drawing readers deeper into Lana's wild and rapidly destabilizing world. Johnson paints characters of such heartrending complexity that you find yourself constantly pondering the "right" course, just as Lana is forced time and again to question her own choices and the path she must take to rescue her mother, a city, and perhaps even all of humanity. The black book and the past it reveals is masterfully interwoven with the present, greatly enriching the already intricate plot and adding unforeseen depth to Lana's plight and the woman who betrayed her. The novel's true strength lies in the cast's dimension: No character is wholly "good" nor "evil"--all are painfully human, struggling to do what must be done, what they believe is right, in a situation that seems increasingly hopeless. No one is irredeemable nor wholly unsympathetic. Readers who enjoyed "Racing the Dark" will find even greater riches in "The Burning City" and Lana's startling epiphanies coupled with the enticing cliff-hanger finale will have you begging for the final volume. Here's hoping it won't be a long wait.
It has been 2 years since Racing the Dark came out, and I am happy she finally came out with the sequel to it! Racing the Dark was interesting, it reminded me of Earthsea, Mistborne, and (I know it sounds a little weird) the Grimm Adventures of Billy and Mandy (in the way that the Death spirit follows Lana around).