The Darkness Dwellers by Kirsten Miller
"First they ventured deep under New York to save the city itself. Then things got personal as the Irregulars ventured into a haunted mansion in Chinatown to uncover an evil twin. Now, in the third installment of bestselling author Kirsten Miller's Kiki Strike series, this delightful group of delinquent geniuses jump feet first into a fast-paced international pursuit, going underground in Paris to pursue a pair of treacherous royals who have killed Kiki's parents. With a dash of romance, a fresh take on good manners, and loads of butt-kicking bravery, Kiki, Betty, Ananka and the other Irregulars sharpen their amazing skills in this highly anticipated new adventure."- summary from Amazon
So this is the third book in a series, but don't worry, you don't need to necessarily have read the first two books to read this one, though it doesn't hurt. I've been meaning to read the Kiki Strike books for years now, but with the blog, it's hard to fit in library books with review books. I'm so glad I was able to fit this third installment into my schedule and now I REALLY need to read the previous two books. Miller does a great job of catching readers up and introducing everybody and their previous adventures, but this book contains a completely separate adventure.
And what a doozy it was! I absolutely adored reading this book; I flew through it in no time at all. I loved reading about the Irregulars' missions. They all are fully fleshed out characters and even though this is my first time meeting them, I really got a sense of who they were. It's a pretty funny book too, which I really enjoyed.
But the missions throughout the book were filled with intrigue, suspense, romance, and heart. I liked how the book went back and forth between Paris and New York, dropping in on how each plot thread was going. I also really enjoyed the setting of the catacombs in Paris; it's just an interesting choice.
Honestly, I can't recommend this book enough. I am going to have to make time to read the first two books soon.
and here's an interview with Kirsten!
1) How did you get the idea for the Kiki Strike series? What brought you back to the series, since the last book came out in 2008?
I knew Kiki long before I started writing about her. In the early 2000s, I wanted to create a street art “campaign” (along the lines of ANDRE THE GIANT HAS A POSSE) featuring a girl mastermind who’d take credit for the strange things that are always happening here in New York City. The only problem—I can’t draw. And my one amazing artist friend decided to skip town and head back home to Australia. So I was left with this crazy character, and I wasn’t sure what to do with her. That’s when I started writing. The first book was really just a way for me to finally let Kiki Strike out of my head.
Yep, five years passed between book #2 and book #3. I really didn’t intend to stay away so long. I figured I’d write a novel outside of the series then return to Kiki. That one novel ended up being two. (The Eternal Ones series.) Then my Kiki publisher decided to re-release the first two books, so that pushed back the Darkness Dwellers pub date. So what should have been no more than a two-year break ended up being a five-year break.
It was unfortunate—for me, anyway. The Kiki books are an absolute joy to write. (Which was certainly not the case with The Eternal Ones.)
2) What's your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor(s)? Or if you don't like those, what's your favorite snack to have while writing or as a reward for writing?
I do love Jelly Belly jelly beans. I think my favorite flavors are popcorn and pina colada. But truth be told, I prefer savory snacks over sweet. I will sit and eat my weight in pistachio nuts if given an opportunity.
3) What are you currently working on? Can you tell us anything about it?
I’m collaborating on a SUPER SECRET project right now. It’s really exciting—I wish I could tell you more. But I’ve been SWORN TO SECRECY. You’ll find out about it soon enough. Ha.
I also have another book coming out. It’s called How to Lead a Life of Crime (Razorbill, 2/13). While I think it will definitely appeal to older Kiki readers, it is certainly not a book you’d want to give to a nine-year-old. It’s very dark and very disturbing. And it’s one of the two best things I’ve ever written. (The Darkness Dwellers being the other.)
In the course of doing research for Kiki, I discovered that New York was once home to a school for young criminals. The Grand Street School was founded in the 1870s by a woman named Marm Mandelbaum—and it was a roaring success until Marm had to flee to Canada to escape from the NYC police. The premise of How to Lead a Life of Crime is that the Grand Street School never shut down for good. It simply changed its name and became respectable.
4) What book(s) are you reading right now, or are about to start?
I’m just finishing The Omnivore’s Dilemma. (Meat isn’t looking so good to me right now. Darn.)
I’m about to re-read Harriet the Spy. (Yay!)
FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.