Ask four different groups of people what city you’ve stepped into, and you’ll be told different names. Daidu, Yanjing, Monkh, DanDao, what is this city’s name?
For the natives—the ones who were born and raised on the land—they simply call it The Nameless City.
Written and illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks, The Nameless City follows two characters—Kaidu, a Dao boy who is a member of the latest occupying nation and is currently training to defend his city from future invaders, and Rat, a native girl of the Nameless City who has distrusts outsiders such as Kai and his people.
This book is the first of a trilogy, and it introduces you to the city without one name and the people who live in it. You meet Kai, who came to the Nameless City to get to know his father; Rat, who is distrustful of the occupying nations; Andren, Kai’s father and a general of the King; Prince Erzi, the first Dao boy born in the Nameless City who trains kids and teenagers to become Dao soldiers; Mura, Erzi’s right-hand-woman and bodyguard; and so many more. I loved seeing the different people who occupy the city and their views on the relationship between the different people living there. It opens your eyes to what they see when they look at other nations.
You get to see and take in all the sights and the culture through the gorgeous art work. It’s absolutely stunning. It’s what will make you become engrossed in the comic. The art has Asian elements and influences incorporated in it, which is reminiscent of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra. Faith Erin Hicks does a great job of transporting her readers into the world she wants them to experience.
Unlikely friendships change lives for the better. For Rat, she’s a lone wolf; she doesn’t want to know any kids who live in the Nameless City, but then Kai, a friendly Dao boy, enters her world. Through certain circumstances, you see Rat and Kai bond through running, and Rat grows to care for someone other than herself. You see her defend and fight for Kai when this is something she wouldn’t have done before. It’s so beautiful to see her overcome her distrust for non-natives. It brought so much joy.
- I loved seeing the relationship between the nations that occupy the Nameless City. Not everybody will be happy when an army invades and conquer their city, so there’ll be tension and anger, and it’s shown well.
The problem with The Nameless City is that it feels too much like an introduction. It also feels short. It lays down the groundwork of the characters and the complicated political relationships between the different nations occupying the Nameless City, but it lacks a plot that you can invest yourself into. So much feels like setup. It’s a chapter of the story, so it feels unfulfilling. I can’t help but be a bit let down.
Who will love this comic? Everybody! People who liked Avatar: The Last Airbender’s art. People who like fun and cute with Asian elements. It’s only the beginning of this world and story!