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Inside the Shadow City (Kiki Strike #1)

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  4,357 ratings  ·  603 reviews
Life will never be the same for Ananka Fishbein after she ventures into an enormous sinkhole near her New York City apartment. A million rats, delinquent Girl Scouts out for revenge, and a secret city below the streets of Manhattan combine in this remarkable novel about a darker side of New York City you have only just begun to know about…

Hardcover, 387 pages
Published May 30th 2006 by Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
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Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Carrie Spellman for

Pretend you live in Manhattan, across the street from a little park. Now pretend you wake up one night and the park has sunken into the ground and left a big hole. Wait, it gets weirder! Pretend you see a mud-covered creature climb up out of the hole using a rope, and it waves at you. What would you do? If you're twelve-year-old Ananka Fishbein, you sneak out of the house and climb down the hole. Once down the hole, you might find a secret room. (I
I'll admit mom picked this one out for me.

While i was busy staring at all the pretty shiny sparkly covers of some YA paranormal, she picked up this little number and began silently reading the back cover. Only a moment later I felt her nudge me, insisting I read THIS ONE. Now me, not wanting to give up a book that I had already picked, defiantly declined with a wave of a hand.
Before I knew it, she was reading the summary out loud in a rapid tone, acting more excited than I was even thou
Take a group of renegade girlscouts dressed as ninjas, an exiled Eastern European princess, some opium dens and theives liars, a horde of old, an entire city located underneath New York City's subways, and millions of murderous rats. Holding it all together is the very mysterious, and possibly dangerous, Kiki Strike. But who is this Kiki Strike? Is she a Defender of the Innocent? Or an International Assassin? Or possibly a Kung-Fu movie star?

This is an exciting and, well, just plain awesome adve
Richard Due
A worthy read if ever I've met one.

There is so much to recommend this book that it is hard to know where to begin! I wanna be a girl scout! I want to be dangerous! I want to be an irregular!!! I knew almost immediately what great hands I was in; Kirsten Miller's rapid-fire and hilarious mind is stamped on every single page. But it was when I was halfway through the book (and out in the weeds as far as the mystery was concerned) when I realized I was up against a mystery as formidable as one from
Sep 28, 2013 Ni rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves a good mystery and a group of smart super-spies
Recommended to Ni by: Mollie F.
This is now one of my favorite books! This book is brilliant. It's a good read for tweens and teens. This superspy really kicks butt! This group of smart, loyal, sly girls make a great team. One of the best books I have ever read. I think everyone who loves a good mystery should read it.
Samantha Louise
This review can also be found on my blog, NovelWorldUnfurled.

I go through phases. Every year or so, I have this phase where I want to be a spy/detective/explorer/adventurer. It lasts anywhere between two weeks to two months on average, and started when I was nine-years-old and continues annually to this day, so you can imagine how I see myself when I am in this state of mind (a combination of Indian Jones/James Bond/Katniss Everdeen/Eowyn/Kiki Strike/Black Widow/Lyra Belaqua).

I go all out. To "
Karen Syed
Mar 10, 2008 Karen Syed rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Karen by: Found it on library shelf
Shelves: favorites
The Shadow City has lay beneath the streets of Manhattan for quite some time, virtually forgotten by all--well, almost all. Kiki Strike, has a secret, and a mission, actually, it's a secret mission and she needs the help of a very select few. This is when she hits the local Girl Scout troops to recruit her genius band of "Irregulars."

Ananka Fishbein and friends are in for a revelation when they team up with Kiki. With espionage in her blood and an overload of courage, Kiki leads this group of gi
Aug 06, 2008 Samantha rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like an adventure story.
This book is very interesting! Some parts went over my head (aka could forget about). It was detaily. There was a lot of action and mystery though. I liked it and there is a sequal too! I hope if you read it you like it too!
Staying at a friend's house, my daughter borrowed this from my friend's daughter, who really liked it. Turns out my friend, the mom, had read it too. Well, after my daughter read it, she sweetly asked me to read it so we could talk about it. And I really, really liked it, too and not only for the mother-daughter bonding it created.

Kiki Strike lives out every girl's fantasy, if every girl is a native New Yorker who is dazzled by her own city's mystery and elegance. When I was a little girl, I had
Kiki Strike is the just the type of MOXIE heroine I'm always looking for. Smart, fearless, resourceful and just all around cool! The narrator Ananka is amazing and makes me smile--reminds me of how much fun being a curious and daredevil girl can be. It's been so refreshing to read about an angst-free kick-butt heroine and real girl friendships.

What I really love about this book is that author Kristin Miller actually understands the basic fact that setting a novel in a cosmopolitan and diverse ci
Aug 01, 2009 Miriam rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: tween grrls
Shelves: ya, unfinished
I am not in the intended demographic for this book, but I don't think I would have liked it even when I was younger. First of all, it takes too long (over 100 pages) before any real adventures start happening, and when they do they are underwhelming. I am perfectly willing to hang in for the long haul if the author is using the space as needed to develop characters, world-build, or set up a complicated plot -- none of which happens here. The characters are fairly two dimensional: I didn't find t ...more
So I liked it, but there were some flaws that made it just ok. I assume it aspires to be a book about geeky girls who empower themselves to explore an underground city and save NYC. It falls short in my opinion. The girls may be empowered and brilliant in a singular sense, the "Irregulars" are not an empowered group of women on any level. They are negative and shallow even. I just couldn't stand by when the narrator is told to only have one cookie by a friend because she would be cuter if she lo ...more
IndyPL Kids Book Blog
You can pick up some dead on detective/spy tips from Kiki Strike, her book jacket says it all, “Five delinquent Girl Scouts, a million hungry rats, one secret city beneath Manhattan, and a butt-kicking girl superspy- welcome to the world of Kiki Strike”. I love it.

Kiki Strike is the story of the Irregulars, a group of girls brought together by the mysterious, the skilled, the top secret Kiki Strike. She’s fluent in a dozen languages. Breaking and entering? No problem. Kiki has recruited a group
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 23, 2009 Andrea rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like adventure stories
Ananka is yearning for a life of excitement, but she doesn't realize it until it the morning she looks out her window to discover a sink hole in the park outside her window and the secret room that lies beneath. Before long she is discovering a secret city with Kiki Strike and a highly talented group of girls called the Irregulars. The girls seem unstoppable until an accident occurs that leaves them doubting the motives of their fearless leader and causes a split. When girls across the city begi ...more
This book for me, was a different genre- so it was interesting reading it. Ananka Fishbein- a high school student at an all girls school in New York city lived what some people might call a rather boring life. Until she meets Kiki Strike. A rebellious girl who befriends Ananka and other girls. They lead a more exciting life. (I'm trying not to spoil anything :D) I found the begining a bit boring,and I really wanted to get past it. Being persistent, I kept reading it. I got torwards the middle, a ...more
Jul 12, 2007 Boatgirl rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: the adventuresome
I wish this book had been written sooner. If it had been available when I was younger, the path of my life might have been completely different. Kiki is a modern heroine for any girl who feels a little hampered by the ordinary.
Part story, part how-to guide, for anyone interested in being a spy, getting away with the unthinkable, and making the most of what you've got. From now on, it will be a book I give to girls of my acquaintance so they will grow up with good role models.
The very concept was
I wish I new some preteen/young teen girls to recommend this book to. It’s a fun read and the ladies of the irregulars are simply awesome. Kiki Strike assembles a crack team of girls “who are tired of the girl scouts” to discover and take control of the shadow city that lies beneath New York City. One girl is a master of disguise, one is an expert forger, another is a hacker, and one girl is in because she’s not afraid to get dirty. All of these young ladies have a great deal of moxie. The book ...more
So, I might be willing to give this a 2.5 because of the idea, but since I can't it's a 2. The idea behind this book is great! A secret underground city in New York explored by independent, quirky young girls? Could be really cool, but I think Miller fell short. Her characters were pretty flat, unlikeable, and stereotypical. I was disappointed by the description and depth of exploration in the Shadow City. I also think the underlying story with Kiki was not even close to developed enough. I was ...more
This could have been so, so, so great. A group of girls venture into the "Shadow City" underneath New York City, discovering secret abandoned speakeasies, dancehalls, catacombs, and tunnels -- a dream come true for passionate urban explorers like me. Unfortunately, the author loses faith in the intrinsic interestingness of the concept and whips up an unsatisfying -- and unevenly written -- scenario involving espionage, ransom kidnappings, and secret royalty. It would have been perfectly sublime ...more
This review for both this book and Kiki Strike: the Empress's Tomb.

Ooooo I like these mysteries for some reason. The story is told from Ananka’s viewpoint. She’s a poor student living in New York city with perpetual student parents who basically pay her no mind and attending a girl’s school for gifted, mostly very rich, students. Then one day something interesting happens—The ground collapses across the street from her apartment building and she see’s a gnome-like being exit. Ananka herself expl
Ian Wood
This is the complete review as it appears at my blog dedicated to reading, writing (no 'rithmatic!), movies, & TV. Blog reviews often contain links which are not reproduced here, nor will updates or modifications to the blog review be replicated here.

I rated this novel a worthy read!


Not to be confused with Kirsten Miller the South African writer and artist, nor with actor Kristen Miller, nor with poet Kirsten Miller, it’s nove
Ny'asia Davidson
So i read the book called kiki strike by kirsten miller. i admit that the beginning was boring but the main character was named ananka fishbein and she was 12 years old. she was attending an all girl school and i forgot what the name was but on the 1st week of school she got into a incident with this popular girl who thought she was perfect. so the girl had a group of 3 girls who were always together bragging about things they had because they were like rich. the little rich girl had thought tha ...more
Oct 02, 2008 Michelle rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Michelle by: Lili
Shelves: youngadult, self
What a fun read! I wish this book was around when I was 11. Mostly, this is a mix between a James Bond and Nancy Drew novel. But, the narrator, Ananka, adds tips on topics like disguise, surveillance, and "how to kick some butt". I was so drawn in that I thought, momentarily at least, that I could personally escape a kidnapping plot or trail someone without getting caught. Kiki, Ananka, and the gang of girls are tough and smart. Sidney Bristow, just a few years younger.
Andrew Fairweather
A pretty excellent adventure tale about a girl who stumbles upon the adventure of a lifetime. Through sheer curiosity our hero Ananka meets Kiki Strike, a character of mysterious origins and vampire-esque attire. Together with a group of misfit girls donned 'the irregulars', they explore the legendary underground network of tunnels that lie under New York City. In the first installment of this three volume series, we see The Irregulars battle it out with WASPy Ex-Patroon New York blue bloods and ...more
It always baffles me when I come across the kind of empowerment for girls that mentions in scathing tones how girls are treated poorly. Maybe it's just where I grew up (I'm certainly not that young), but I have zero memories of gender-related condescension. "Girls can do as much as boys can" speeches kind of weird me out, because it's like someone passionately declaring that cucumbers are just as much of a food as tomatoes are.

So I can't feel anything but put off by the kind of nyeh-nyeh bittern
Kate Murray
This book has a remarkably similar feel to the Finishing School series. It is mainly charactered by girls(in fact other than Ananka’s dad and some villains I can’t remember any boys) and all of them defy expectations. Fed up with the Girl Scouts for not letting them blow things up and forge ID cards at will, Kiki Strike gathers them all together to explore the underground of New York, a place called the Shadow City. Unfortunately these tunnels also make it much easier for criminals to sneak in a ...more
Hazel Novella
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lacey Louwagie
This book is carried by the kind of "wish-fulfillment" tropes that aren't really my thing -- kids as spies, secret agents, supersleuths, etc. But as these types of books go, this one is fun enough. The character of Kiki Strike really is intriguing, and I can imagine she probably haunted the author for years before she began to explore her story. I also loved the idea of a whole secret city beneath New York, and I liked the "retrospective" tone of narration, with the main character looking back o ...more
Surprisingly good.

It took me an awfully long time to read, but I don't know if I can actually blame it on the book. But it is a bit heftier than I anticipated, so maybe it just threw me for a loop.

I really liked the characters, and I REALLY liked how much time the book covered. I didn't expect such a vast adventure, but it worked very very well. Ananka as a main character is awesome. I just love her. LOVE HER, I say. And the other members of the Irregulars are pretty cool too.

The villains are so
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.
More about Kirsten Miller...

Other Books in the Series

Kiki Strike (3 books)
  • The Empress's Tomb (Kiki Strike, #2)
  • The Darkness Dwellers (Kiki Strike, #3)
The Eternal Ones (Eternal Ones, #1) All You Desire (Eternal Ones, #2) The Empress's Tomb (Kiki Strike, #2) How to Lead a Life of Crime The Darkness Dwellers (Kiki Strike, #3)

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“When I grow up, I'd like to be dangerous.” 128 likes
“You big crybaby," I whispered into his ear. "Now you know why your mom warned you not to hit girls. Sometimes they hit back.” 53 likes
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