A little more than a year ago, I reviewed the first book in Moro Rogers’ City in the Desert trilogy and quite enjoyed it. The second book, The Serpent Crown, continues the story of monster hunter Irro and his young partner Hari in their efforts to save Kevala, the eponymous city in the desert, from the peril that befell it in the first book. Things pick up basically immediately where they left off, and so The Serpent Crown isn’t a great jumping-on point for new readers; however, for fans of the first book, it is a worthy continuation of the story and portends an exciting third act.
One of my criticisms of the first book involved the pacing being, at points, a little slow, but The Serpent Crown doesn’t have that problem. Arguably, though, this is partially due to the book’s minimalist writing, which I think is largely a strength of the series; it moves too quickly through certain portions. A journey that would be a whole arc in a modern, ongoing monthly is over and done in a couple of pages and without a word. That’s not a bad thing, but it is a notable contrast to a lot of other comics out there right now, and so may not be to everyone’s liking.
Hari gets more backstory here, too, which is good; she often felt like the obligatory sidekick in The Monster Problem, but by the end of The Serpent Crown, we know more about her and it’s clear that she has a significant role to play beyond just being the co-star. Irro gets a bit more development, too, as does the world itself, though now it’s less about the day-to-day life in Kevala and more about the mysteries that lie in the wilderness.
Fun, fast, and loaded with charm, City in the Desert: The Serpent Crown is easy to recommend to fans of the first book.
Four Bok Whistles out of Five