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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.
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Posted November 19, 2012
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).
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Posted June 8, 2011
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