From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up-This second volume of the trilogy continues the story begun in City of Masks (Bloomsbury, 2002). Georgia, a 15-year-old with a hateful older stepbrother, finds herself transported to 16th-century Talia (Italy), when she goes to sleep holding a little winged horse figure she bought in an antique shop. She awakes in a barn where a coveted, rare winged horse has just been born. She quickly finds herself involved in the intrigues and conflicts between rival families and the preparation for the Stellata, the annual horse race among the competitive elite families. The di Chimici family is seeking to extend its power and control and sees the race as another step in reaching that goal. At the same time, its patriarch is devastated by an accident that left his youngest son, Falco, crippled. When Falco, dismayed at his now limited future, meets Georgia and learns that she can travel across time and place, he resolves to stravagate permanently to her time, where modern medicine may be able to give him a normal life. Georgia eventually helps him to get to England, but his transition to life there seems somewhat contrived and too neatly resolved. The book climaxes with the horse race and Falco's death in his own time when he becomes a modern-day boy. The concept of stravagation is appealing and is used well to create an adventure tale that takes readers back into the 16th century with all its drama. Fans of the first book will find the sequel equally appealing.Jane G. Connor, South Carolina State Library, Columbia
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Gr. 6-10. Cruelly teased and tormented by her older stepbrother, Georgia feels trapped in an impossible family situation, with horseback riding as her only escape. After she buys a small statue of a winged horse, she discovers that it is a talisman with the power to transport her through space and time from modern London to Talia, a sixteenth-century, alternative Italy. Georgia first appears to Cesare, son of a horse master in Remora (Sienna), where he has recently witnessed the miraculous birth of a flying horse, a good omen. Still, there's trouble ahead for Cesare in Remora and for Georgia in both worlds, now that she has become one of the Stravaganti, time travelers between London and Talia. Readers of the Stravanganza: City of Masks
(2002) will be pleased that several of the main characters reappear, which develops their stories a bit further while introducing a vivid new setting and an involving narrative focused on Georgia. The lovingly created, richly detailed locales are one of the distinctive pleasures of the series, along with the subtle portrayals of both major and minor characters. In other novels, shifts in point of view and setting often confuse the reader and impede the narrative, but here they propel the story, carrying readers along for an adventurous ride. This leaves readers with the hope of more to come. Carolyn PhelanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved