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First Second exclusive: The Nameless City saga continues in The Stone Heart

Faith Erin Hicks and Jordie Bellaire’s The Nameless City is one of 2016’s most promising new graphic novels, telling a political, heartfelt, and thrilling story about a young man, Kai, discovering himself as he learns about his new home. Constantly changing names because it’s constantly being overtaken by outside forces, the urban setting is referred to as “The Nameless City” by natives, and much of the first book focuses on Kai acclimating to this new locale and befriending its citizens.

Those burgeoning friendships are highlighted in this exclusive first look at The Stone Heart, the second title in the Nameless City series hitting stores in April 2017. The preview pages don’t feature any of the rooftop action that delivers most of the plot’s thrills, but they give a strong impression of the political conflict and the character relationships that bring depth to the narrative. The city’s disdain toward outsiders is clear in Iniko’s treatment of Kai, but Kai is eager to show his companions that not all members of his militaristic culture are fighters.

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Kai does this by revealing his musical talent, and the creative team does exceptional work capturing how this song unites the group. Bellaire’s pink coloring for the music makes it pop against the predominantly sandy palette, and the way the notes swirl around the quartet on the fourth page subtly indicates that the tune is bringing them closer together. These kinds of smart, evocative creative decisions are responsible for much of The Nameless City’s success, and readers should definitely seek out the first volume before The Stone Heart hits stores.

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