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City of Light, City of Dark: 01/12/10
Avi is one of those authors who has written an umpty-billion novels across a number of genres. He could easily be his own section in the library or bookstore. In my own local library, Avi's books take up three rows of shelves. I could easily spend a month just reading and reviewing his books.
City of Light, City of Dark is a graphic novel illustrated by Brian Floca. It reconstructs the history of Manhattan island in an urban fantasy framework. The island belongs to the Kurbs but they lease the land to humanity. All they have to do is keep safe a small token (literally a bus token) of their power and return it by the winter solstice to an agreed upon location.
Every generation has an appointed keeper of the token. It's always a woman and she's given the power to disguise herself but like so many New York heroes she has to keep her true identity a secret even from her own husband and child.
Most of the novel is told from the daughter's point of view. She's been told her mother is dead and her name has been changed. She lives with her father and they are forever in debt to a blind man who desperately seeks the power of the token.Manhattan, though never called by name, is recognizable in Brian Floca's black and white illustrations. The surrounding cities and boroughs retain their names but Manhattan is just the Island or the City. The way the Kurbs control the city's fate reminds me of one of my favorite films, Dark City.