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City of Dark Magic: A Novel Paperback – November 27, 2012
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From Publishers Weekly
Top Customer Reviews
Why? Because the book has taken the conventions of the fantasy genre and the WWII novel, rolled it up with some of the traditional spy schtick, dropped in some romance, and grounded it all in historically accurate biography of Beethoven, the astronomer Tycho Brahe, and all the patrons who supported and tormented them. There are lines throughout that made me laugh out loud ("The Nazis had been one thing. The communists another. But now there were *academics* crawling all over the palace") and that gesture to the fact that the authors are quite deliberately playing on the usual tropes of this sort of fiction. The book's small ventures into tiny objects of private interest--the search for Beethoven's Immortal Beloved, the placement of Prague as the mystical gateway between East and West, even the various tchotchkes being groomed and preserved at the palace--thrilled me, and made me feel in the presence of smart writers who understood their book as entertainment and wanted me to have a good time on the ride.
Is this book a confection? Absolutely. I don't intend to plumb the depths of the characters.Read more ›
I've got to admit, when I saw City of Dark Magic on Netgalley, I was lured in by the pretty cover and promise of dark magic. I thought I was getting a fantasy novel set in menacing Prague that would be full of magic and portals to other worlds. This book actually turned out to be more of a contemporary spy novel with some alchemy thrown in to explain a few things. Personally, I didn't connect with this novel or its characters and couldn't really recommend it to anyone looking for a fantasy or even urban fantasy read, but other reviewers seem to have enjoyed the book much more than me. I think it helps to know what you are getting into from the beginning instead of expecting one type of book and getting another.
The writing in this book was a little off-putting for me. It felt like I was reading a YA novel, but there were some pretty descriptive sex scenes that negated that notion. The writing just didn't flow very well and the conversations felt especially stilted. The pacing was also oddly inconsistent; I never felt a sense of urgency until the last thirty or so pages of the book. I did think the descriptions of Prague and its historical landmarks were well done though, so the writing wasn't a totally unpleasant.
City of Dark Magic had a strange and somewhat convoluted plot. We begin thinking that Sarah will be investigating the death of her mentor but that is wrapped up pretty quickly; then it seems to connect to Beethoven's Immortal Beloved letters, but that doesn't really go anywhere. Another thread begins with the American senator, Charlotte Yates. We are given her inside POV and she is setup as the bad guy from the get-go, so no real mystery for the reader.Read more ›
'City of Dark Magic' is a unique and mysterious thrill ride of a novel - unlike anything I've read before. The plot surrounds the Prague Castle and the army of academics who have taken over for the summer in order to restore the Lubkowicz Palace to its former glory and turn it into a museum filled with centuries old treasures. The story focuses on Sarah Weston, a music expert from Boston who is invited to help with the museum - specifically with the artifacts concerning Beethoven. Sarah can't ignore all the strange happenings that begin soon after her arrival and then people start dying. Who can Sarah trust? Who is the person behind all this chaos? And what is this mind altering drug that the Prince and her mentor were taking? Will Sarah be able to get to the bottom of everything before it's too late?
This novel was an enchanting and exciting blend of genres that I immediately fell in love with. There is so much going on during the book - murders, intrigue, mayhem, sex, drugs, time travel, alchemy and espionage to name a few - that it sucks you in and doesn't let go until the final word is read. The characters are all very interesting and distinct. I felt like they were a great cast of personalities for the book and all played their parts to perfection. I really liked the character of Sarah. She was brilliant and intuitive, but she definitely had flaws and character traits that made her feel very real. There is sex, swearing, and drugs in the novel, but this didn't bother me because it didn't detract from the main story. (Well, the drug in question may have actually enhanced the plot.)
Speaking of the plot - I barely have words to explain it.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really loved it! It was enthralling and interesting to see their perspective on historic moments while still managing to laugh out loud. Read morePublished 17 days ago by Simone K Nevruzian
Engaging and easy read, the story flows and engulfs seamlessly. The book would be even better without the occasional sex scenes.Published 4 months ago by maria
This book was an exhilarating romp from beginning to end. Main character Sarah wasn't a kick-ass superwoman, she was a courageous, sometimes selfish, flawed, fun, fallible,... Read morePublished 5 months ago by DH
I read half a chapter of this before I decided my eyes were going to pop out of my skull from all the eye rolling. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Predictable, no twists, no surprises. On the other hand, I read it before visiting Prague and it did help me with the city legends and culture.Published 5 months ago by Fabiana Peixoto de Mello
When I began reading this book, I was merely motivated by the fact that I wanted a fast paced read with a bit of naughtiness to it, and that is precisely what I got in this book. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Hira N. Hasnain
I can't even tell you what this book is about, beyond a few scant basics. The main character is a grad student. Most of the action takes place in Prague. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Kindle Customer
So, this book is full of cliches and stereotypes. The characters are one dimensional, not really likable. Read morePublished 6 months ago by quietcatly