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City of Fire (Laurence Yep's City Trilogy Series #1)
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City of Fire (Laurence Yep's City Trilogy Series #1)

3.6 8
by Laurence Yep

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Two-time Newbery Honor Award-winning author Laurence Yep kicks off an action-packed new fantasy trilogy with City on Fire

This thrilling tale takes readers on an unforgettable journey through an alternate version of our world in 1941 -- a world filled with magical beings such as dragons in human form, tiny "lap griffins," reincarnations of legendary


Two-time Newbery Honor Award-winning author Laurence Yep kicks off an action-packed new fantasy trilogy with City on Fire

This thrilling tale takes readers on an unforgettable journey through an alternate version of our world in 1941 -- a world filled with magical beings such as dragons in human form, tiny "lap griffins," reincarnations of legendary Chinese warriors, Japanese folk creatures, and goddesses in disguise.

When her older sister dies trying to prevent the theft of one of her people's great treasures, twelve-year-old Scirye sets out to avenge her and recover the precious item. Helping her are Bayang, a dragon disguised as a Pinkerton agent; Leech, a boy with powers he has not yet discovered; and Leech's loyal companion Koko, who has a secret of his own. All have a grudge against the thieves who stole the treasure: the evil dragon Badik and the mysterious Mr. Roland.

Scirye and her companions pursue the thieves to Houlani, a new Hawaiian island being created by magic. There, they befriend Pele, the volatile and mercurial goddess of volcanoes. But even with Pele on their side, they may not be able to stop Mr. Roland from gaining what he seeks: the Five Lost Treasures of Emperor Yu. Together, the treasures will give him the power to alter the very fabric of the universe.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
The reader is thrown into a world very similar to our own, but populated by some very strange creatures indeed. The female main character, Scirye, is the daughter of Lady Sudarshane, the Kushan ambassador and coordinator of an exhibit of Kushan's ancient artifacts. These artifacts are very interesting, not only to ordinary earthlings, but to an amazing array of characters, some of whom would very much like to steal them, and some of whom would gladly kill the thieves. Then there are the dragons, at least some of whom feel that the Kushan have already stolen them. One Dragon is actually masquerading as a human (sort of) and will eventually have to learn that not all humans are evil; the male main character, Leech, (a human teenager) learns that the Kushan are not all evil either. The setting is Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where a new island has been created to serve as an ultra-high class hotel. The owner of this new island seems to have lifted some of his ideas from Jurassic Park—his financial minions are sharks—yes, real sharks, but genetically modified air-breathing monsters in fancy suits! Reviewer: Judy Silverman
VOYA - KaaVonia Hinton-Johnson
It is 1941 in San Francisco, where citizens share their city with shape-shifters, flying dragons, people with magical powers, and goddesses. The book begins with an introduction of four strangers who decide to go to the Hearn Museum for various reasons. Bayang, disguised as an old woman, goes because her prey, Leech, and his friend, Koko, will be there. Twelve-year-old Scirye attends because her mother, Lady Sudarshane, is a liaison for the new exhibit that features Kushan treasures. While spectators admire the exhibit, four large monsters fly in and attack them. Everyone, including Scirye, a scarcely trained fighter, snaps into warrior mode, but they cannot prevent Batik, the lead monster, from stealing the archer's ring and destroying the mummy, Lady Tabiti. Before the monsters escape, they kill Scirye's older sister and Leech's bodyguard. Determined to avenge their deaths, Scirye, Leech, Koko, and a reluctant Bayang, board a carpet in pursuit of Batik and his accomplice Mr. Roland. Readers will enjoy the bond that develops among the characters even as Bayang struggles to carry out orders to assassinate Leech. Equally interesting is the turmoil, action, and fighting in many scenes. Yep does a fine job of telling the story through multiple perspectives, and the descriptions of historical artifacts, dragons, lap griffins (Scirye's feathered pet with wings), and shape-shifters are vivid, giving this first installment in a trilogy just the right blend of history and fantasy. Yep fans will be pleased. Reviewer: KaaVonia Hinton-Johnson
School Library Journal
Gr 4–8—In this first volume of a trilogy set in an alternate world, the ancient Kushan Empire, stretching from northern India to western China, still exists in 1941 and has loaned its most precious archaeological treasures to a museum in San Francisco. Recalling Phillip Pullman's Oxford, Yep creates a recognizable but startling city peopled with sprites, trolls, imps, and pixies, a place where magic and technology coexist. The main characters assemble at an official ceremony opening the exhibition: Scirye, aristocratic daughter of a Kushan diplomat; her lap griffin Kles; Leech, a street child; his trickster sidekick Koko; and Bayang, a female dragon disguised as a Pinkerton agent. As an earthquake interrupts the ceremony, Badik, an evil dragon, steals an ancient archer's ring, killing Scirye's sister and Leech's protector in the process. Recognizing Badik as an old enemy, Bayang joins forces with the youngsters on a quest for revenge. Together, they follow Badik and his master Roland, an internationally famous entrepreneur, to Hawaii, where Roland is corrupting natural forces to build a volcanic island. Developing solidarity as they confront escalating dangers, the five team up with Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes. Yep's varied human, animal, and mythic cast is reminiscent of those found in Lewis Carroll and L. Frank Baum. Readers who follow the diverse protagonists as they come to understand and love one another as family will be eager to follow their adventures into the next volume.—Margaret A. Chang, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams
Kirkus Reviews
Set in an alternate 1941 in which there's no world war and humans share the world with hordes of imps, trolls, shapechangers, gods and every other type of creature that Yep can conjure from world mythology, this opener to a planned City Trilogy pits a squad of unlikely allies against bad guys with a shadowy but ominous agenda. Banding together after surviving an evil dragon's smash-and-grab theft of an ancient artifact from a San Francisco museum, young orphan Leech joins belligerent preteen aristocrat Scirye, along with Bayang (a dragon in disguise) and two other nonhuman sidekicks in a long chase to Hawaii-where, with help from the volcano goddess Pele, they barely escape a tsunami-sized trap as the villains wing away with a second artifact. The chase goes on, heading for the icy North. The author's consistent habit of freezing attacks for exchanges of threats or banter turns most of the action scenes into leisurely set pieces, but such scenes follow one another in quick succession in this plot-driven tale, and the cast is as engaging as it is diverse. (afterword, bibliography) (Fantasy. 10-12)
Publishers Weekly
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—in which sprites, naiads, and other magical creatures coexist with humans—the 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—14. (Sept.)

Product Details

Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
City Trilogy Series , #1
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years


Meet the Author

LAURENCE YEP is the critically-acclaimed author of more than sixty books for children and young adults, including two Newbery Honor Award winners: Dragonwings and Dragon's Gate. In 2005, he was the recipient of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award from the American Library Association for a substantial and lasting contribution literature for children. Mr. Yep lives with his wife in Pacific Grove, California.

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City of Fire (Laurence Yep's City Trilogy Series #1) 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
SheilaCE More than 1 year ago
City of Fire by Laurence Yep is an exciting, adventurous read for children ages nine and up. Set in the 1940's, our heroes journey across the Pacific ocean from San Francisco to the Hawaiian Islands meeting shapeshifters, dragons and even the ancient goddess Pele who has disguised herself as a vagabond, but controls the land and the sea through her mystical enchantments. Magic is part of this fantastical world and our hero, twelve-year old Scirye, will come face to face with evil and her own abilities to overcome it. She will find friendship in a young boy, Leech, who she first mistrusts, but then comes to understand that he is also on a journey of self-discovery. Leech must find out about his own mysterious past and make the decision to do good or evil. Gaining the trust of her traveling companions, Scirye, sets out to avenge the death of her sister caused by the evil dragon Badik and the powerfully evil Mr. Roland. Each of her companions have their own personal journey in finding the powers within them that will help them stop the diabolical Mr. Roland from stealing the Five Lost Treasures of Emperor Yu and giving him ultimate power over the world.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1941 twelve year old Mistress of Kles Scirye is angry to learn her older sister Nishke was killed trying to prevent a treasure from being stolen from the Hearn Museum in San Francisco. She plans to regain what was taken and kill her sibling's murderer Badik the evil dragon though she is ignorant of the plan of the dragon's even more evil partner Mr. Roland to possess the five Lost Treasures of Emperor Yu in order to change existence as Scirye knows it. Fuming she sets out to avenge her sibling's murder. Joining her on her trek is Bayang the dragon disguised as a human Pinkerton Agent, Leech the orphan, and his best friend Koko. Her three allies have secrets they keep from one another but share a common need to destroy Badik and his associate Mr. Roland. The trail leads to Houlani, the newest Hawaiian island created by magic, but even with Pele the Goddess of volcanoes abetting their cause they are too late to prevent a second theft as they pursue the malevolent duo into the frozen north. This is a fast-paced alternate historical fantasy as one episode follows another. The story line is loaded with a horde of mythological creatures, beasts, cretins, and Gods, but it is the unlikely teammates led by a tweener who fight the forces of evil. Although at times the discussions between the good guys slows down the plot especially during dangerous incidents, middle school fans will root for Scirye and her squad against the enemy who seems several steps ahead of them; setting up a sequel or two. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
City of Fire was a very enjoyable read. It was written for a younger audience and so the characters and plot have to be simple enough to keep a ten year old interested and able to understand, and yet the story kept my attention the entire time. The book is filled with mythology that I've never heard of and intend to now go and research and is able to recreate our world in a fantastic way. Plus there are dragons in it and dragons are among my favorite thing to read about.
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interesting STUPID-*************NEGATIVE 9,878,978 STARS