Review: Kiki Strike: The Darkness Dwellers by Kirsten Miller

Title:Kiki Strike: The Darkness Dwellers
Author:Kirsten Miller
Series:Kiki Strike series Book Three
Release Date: January 22, 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 3 Hoots
Reviewer: Lydia
Buy From: Amazon/ B&N

Sum It Up! Miller’s third installment of the Kiki Strike series will be welcomed by its fans.

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. (Amazon)
What’s more exciting than a group of girl geniuses dedicated to good? A group of delinquent girl geniuses dedicated to exacting justice while maintaining proper etiquette.
Etiquette? In the twenty-first century?
The greatest strength of this middle grade fictional novel is its plot. The external conflicts result in strong action and movement. Yet, this strength could be optimized through minor changes intended to maximize. For example, instead of a non-active preface, a redesigned dossier of the heroines and villains could be used. The dossier, however, should result from a thoughtful brainstorming about each character, not only as an individual but also in relationship to the other characters.
In particular, the novel could benefit from a more intensive approach to revision focusing on improving the cohesion of the story. Miller’s novel contains all of the essential elements necessary to an engaging middle grade novel; these elements, however, need increased integration. By focusing on basic novel writing concepts and techniques, such as showing, pacing, and established placement in time and space, the overall quality of story would be enhanced.
Even the most accomplished author struggles with point of view. Since the Kiki Strike series has a limited first person narrator, the incorporation and integration of perspective changes becomes even more onerous. Violations of perspective tend to stick out. When Ananka describes Kiki’s experiences in chapter seven, the writing takes the reader outside of the story, creating confusion, as in the following sequence: “The first thing Kiki says she remembers is waking up freezing. The cramped room was octagonal, its walls stone and its tall, arched windows boarded over. Outside, the wind battered the building, and frigid breezes crept through its cracks.” The reader disengages as she struggles to understand how these discordant images and senses simultaneously exist. However, in chapter ten, the same transition is seamless.
Miller’s third installment of the Kiki Strike series will be welcomed by its fans.

1 comment :

  1. This is a great example of when the author is too conscious of what she's writing instead of letting the story tell itself... whcih is why I don't think I'll ever be a good fiction writer.


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