Review: City of Light, City of Dark by Avi and illustrated by Brian Floca
Avi. City of Light, City of Dark. New York: Orchard, 1993.
Sarah Stubbs loves her father very dearly. He’s the only family that she has. But she knows that her father has a dark secret, something in his past that a strange man called Underton uses to bully her father and extort money from him. Her father Theo is completed cowed by Underton, but Sarah isn’t afraid of him. She just wishes her father would stand up to him. So when her father says that Underton is asking for Sarah’s help, she’s a bit reluctant to do anything for this strange dark man. And when her tells her that a boy in her school, Carlos, stole something from him and Carlos denies it, her suspicion only grows.
The object that Underton claims was stolen is a subway token. Together Carlos and Sarah discover that the token has special powers. The more they learn about the token the more certain that they have to keep Underton from getting his hands on the token.
Filled with mistaken identities and divided alliances, City of Light, City of Dark is masterful story of urban fantasy. Avi weaves a tight story and creates very strong believable characters. Brian Floca’s artwork sets the scene perfectly in a wintry New York where hidden forces moves beneath the city streets and an ancient task performed yearly is the only thing that maintains the secret balance of life and death unbeknownst to the city’s inhabitants.
– Source for choosing this book: Booklist
– Grades 6-9
– Related Book: Smith, Jeff. Bone Volume 1: Out From Boneville. New York: Scholastic , 2005. Found in Booklist. Both books are fantasy graphic novels that show how a few young people can triumph over forces greater than themselves and on finding lost family.