Series: City Of Dark Magic
Published by Penguin Genres: Fantasy, Romance
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
In this action-packed sequel to City of Dark Magic, we find musicologist Sarah Weston in Vienna in search of a cure for her friend Pollina, who is now gravely ill and who may not have much time left. Meanwhile, Nicolas Pertusato, in London in search of an ancient alchemical cure for the girl, discovers an old enemy is one step ahead of him. In Prague, Prince Max tries to unravel the strange reappearance of a long dead saint while being pursued by a seductive red-headed historian with dark motives of her own. In the city of Beethoven, Mozart, and Freud, Sarah becomes the target in a deadly web of intrigue that involves a scientist on the run, stolen art, seductive pastries, a few surprises from long-dead alchemists, a distractingly attractive horseman who’s more than a little bloodthirsty, and a trail of secrets and lies. But nothing will be more dangerous than the brilliant and vindictive villain who seeks to bend time itself. Sarah must travel deep into an ancient mystery to save the people she loves.
When I was first introduced to City of Dark Magic I was enthralled and fascinated by the world of poetry, music, magic, time travel and eternal love. I am once again brought to this world which once it takes hold of the reader it does not want to let go. I have enjoyed City of Lost Dream just as much as I enjoyed City of Dark Magic.
I am once again lost for words after reading both books and even more so after reading City of Lost Dreams. In City Of Lost Dreams Sarah is driven to Vienna trying to find the cure for her friend’s illness. Though she seems to always attract trouble and mystery one can’t help but love her sense of adventure. All the other characters that we have come to like so much are also back in play, Nico, Alessandro, Pollina, Oksana and Max all who are most liked and some most loved. As expected, the mystery and conspiracy are full blown in City of Lost Dreams. I can’t help but also feel enthralled by the settings and history behind each location visited and mentioned. Vienna with its much history is deeply explored, I can’t help but feel transported to the world of music and poetry, to the place where love is as enigmatic as magic and where every street, every building hold its history and mystery.
I am overwhelmed by the amount of details and history described in this book, it feels like an adventure into a world we only get to see on TV or in the Smithsonian channel. The story behind these well known musicians, figures of history and the enigma that followed their lives and the many secrets this novel explores. I enjoyed every aspect of it, the exploration of magic making it all possible and most likely to happen, the secrets and deceit which seem to have been a necessary of the times. The conspiracy and power that made it all possible and the ability to transcend time – all this combined makes City of Lost Dreams a great story.
These authors did such an amazing job turning so much history into an almost believable dramatic tale of enigmatic proportions. The romance, is an added bonus in this story, I like how intricate and complicated love can be, not only it makes the characters feel more real but it also makes them more vulnerable and likeable. Though I was a bit sad to see Max & Sarah walk different paths, I was also happy to see them work towards a common goal. Though I’d like to see where these two will end I can’t help but wonder if it would work, Max and his inner battle with his nobility, and Sarah with her desire to immortalized herself in the world of music. Two very different characters, yet they both share most of the same needs and desires, united by love, magic and music yet it is exactly that what keeps them apart.
I admit to be a huge fan of Sarah Weston, she is a smart woman with a dirty mouth. Her intellect does not deflect her ability to say things as she thinks it and definitely not shy about expressing things out loud. One of my favorite quotes from her inner monologue is…
He used a glass armonica, which is different from a harmonica, please note. “Gentle music,” we are told, though I have not yet found exactly what was played.” Sarah hoped it wasn’t the eighteen-century version of bad porno music, although it was funny to think of boom-chicka wah-wah being played on an armonica – a graceful instrument composed of glass bowls mounted horizontally on an iron rod connected to a treadle.
City Of Lost Dreams is an intricate and fascinating story about everything that seems real but isn’t, about the thin line between reality and magic, and where science meets the paranormal. The dialog and interaction between the characters is simple yet well established, I enjoyed every aspect of this book, the humor, the sex, the many different level in which love is explored, the eternity and mystery of some of the characters and the exploration of the many possibilities that exist in the world. It takes us to read a book like City Of Lost Dreams to question our own reality, what defines reality and what’s magic, what is science and what’s imagination and how far can humanity go to be able to explore our own mystery. Add City of Lost Dreams to your reading list, once you start reading it you will not be able to stop until you have devour it all.
Can’t wait to read it? Buy it now!
A Conversation with Christina Lynch and Meg Howrey (Magnus Flyte)
Q: How did your collaboration under the name Magnus Flyte come about?
A: We met at a writers’ retreat on an island off Cape Cod and became fans of each other’s work. When we got back to California, we started getting together for mini writers’ retreats at Chris’s house near Sequoia National Park. The plot for our first novel, CITY OF DARK MAGIC was hatched on a walk with Chris’s dog Max. The name “Magnus Flyte” is a hybrid (much like our novel). “Magnus” was a usurping Roman senator (not so different from City of Dark Magic’s villain, Charlotte Yates) and “Flyte” is for Sebastian Flyte, Evelyn Waugh’s wonderful lush who, like Max in our novel, has a difficult relationship with his highborn family and the house they live in.
Q. There have been a lot of news stories lately about women who use male pen names, especially when writing genre fiction. Do you think it’s helpful?
A. Possibly helpful to the author, who may have any number of reasons to use a pen name – a desire to escape gender stereotyping, anonymity, sheer whimsy. One can only imagine how delighted JK Rowling was to watch her book get wonderful reviews without any references to Voldemort! Since we had heard that men avoid books by women, we decided to choose a male pseudonym to reach both genders. But then our identities were made public from the beginning, so we didn’t get a chance to see if “Magnus Flyte” would fool anyone. No matter, we love him anyway.
Q: In CITY OF DARK MAGIC, Prague was very much its own character as well as the setting for the novel. Why did you choose Vienna to be the setting of CITY OF LOST DREAMS?
A: Vienna was the adopted home of Beethoven and we had grown so fond of old LVB in the first novel that we were curious about visiting at least one of the 60 apartments he lived in there as, reportedly, the worst tenant ever. Also, neither of us had ever been to Vienna. And finally, we highly recommend all writers setting a novel in a beautiful European city so that one is forced to travel there and do research (eat sachertorte, visit castles) in a manner that is tax deductible. (Note to I.R.S: don’t even think about it, we have all our receipts.)
Q: You did quite a lot of research for CITY OF DARK MAGIC—visited Prague, had a great deal of notes and researched music as well. How much research did you do for CITY OF LOST DREAMS?
A: Binders! Color-coded binders! In the first novel we had briefly touched upon the life of poet Elizabeth Weston, her stepfather Edward Kelley, and Kelley’s partner in magic, Dr. John Dee. These were all characters we wanted to explore a bit more, particularly Elizabeth, about whom not very much is known. (A fact that we believe she would find completely unacceptable– the woman was more famous than Shakespeare in her time.) Along the way we got interested in Franz Anton Mesmer (who gave us the word “mesmerized” and the phrase “animal magnetism”). Not everything makes it in. Well, everything makes it in on the first draft, because Magnus is a terrible pack rat for obscure history, but then we prune him down a bit.
Q: As a heroine, Sarah Weston is particularly memorable. How did her character evolve in your second novel?
A: Sarah still isn’t terribly interested in winning prizes for decorum, though perhaps in the second book she is not quite as guided by certain…compulsions. In the sequel she is fighting to save the life of someone she loves, so she’s more focused. The challenges she faces are personal, and she’s questioning herself a lot more: what she believes, what she wants. But as Sarah herself says, she’s no princess. And she’s not one to look a gifted horseman in the mouth.
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