I adore the Kiki Strike series. I still can’t believe it’s not bigger than it is. It is one of my missions in life to make The Irregulars a household name.One can only hope with all the spy and international intrigue “Bourne books” on the rise that people will get another chance to discover The Irregulars.
A good part of the book takes place in Paris, but author Kristen Miller does not abandon her beloved New York completely. NYC is just as much a character in the series as any of the girls, and I’m glad she found a way to include it yet again. The Darkness Dwellers refers to a secret society living in the catacombs of Paris. Throw in an upscale girl’s finishing school, some WWII intrigue, and two cases of mistaken identity and you have the recipe for a killer adventure.
For some reason I never think to categorize these books as fantasy, despite obvious made-up elements (a fake European kingdom complete with it’s own history & traditions or massive man-eating rats that live in a made-up city underneath NYC). Instead, I consider it a kick-ass mystery series featuring a troupe of almost super-hero like teenagers.
Picking a favourite Irregular is like picking a favourite Spice Girl: impossible, and I resent being asked to choose. Why can’t I like ALL of them equally? I love how vindictive but surprisingly sensitive Oona is, I love Ananka’s deadpan narration, and I love Iris the 12 year old side-kick who kidnaps delivery boys when she has crushes on them. But this book was an ode to Betty Bent, the kind-hearted master of disguise who until now, is often underestimated by the rest of the team. Betty could come across as sickeningly sweet, but Miller avoids this and instead she projects quiet confidence. I loved the image of her in a super-hero esque catsuit with killer boots when she descends into the catacombs of Paris. There were so many get up and cheer moments for Betty that I lost count and just continued to grin through the whole book.
Miller does a great job juggling not only a number of plot lines, but a large cast of characters. The Irregulars never feel interchangeable and even the supporting cast members feel distinct. I loved the addition of a love interest for Kiki (who would have thought!)
My only question is WHY hasn’t this series been made into a movie yet? The books are fabulous on their own, but they would make one fist-pumpingly good movie. Seriously with all the superhero flicks out there what’s stopping producers? It would be like Kick-Ass meets The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants only set in NEW YORK!
Kiki Strike and the Darkness Dwellers is available now from Penguin Canada.