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Book Review – City of Lost Dreams by Magnus Flyte

Synopsis: 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 whos 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.

First Line:  Even the local tourism board had to admit the church attracted a rather unusual crop of visitors.

Random Quote:  “You cannot have the code for life without the code for death.”  Nico smacked the table with his hand.  “Death is everything.  Death, therefore, art.  Therefore, religion.  Therefore, sex.  Therefore, drugs, wall-to-wall carpeting, salad forks, the Westminster dog show, Barbie,, Twitter, soap on a rope, and ShamWow.”

Before the review a quick plug for a great blogging tool – I use Grammarly for proofreading because the typo demons wreak havoc without it!

Review:  City of Lost Dreams, like its predecessor, City of Dark Magic, is great big entertaining fun.  Although I find the conceit of the imaginary author a bit silly, it’s hard to argue with time travel, immortal dwarves, alchemical hallucinogens, and Viennese pastries (yes, I do pay attention to the food in the books I read).  Throw in a mystery and Vienna with all its musical history and splendor and this is a book to devour and enjoy.

Viennese Pastry Market (image source)

Second books (like sophomore year) are hard to get right, especially when the first one is good, but I actually liked this one better than the first.  For one thing, Sarah is a lot more capable in this book.  I loved the fact that she didn’t need a man to rescue her – the help is nice, but it’s good to see her doing some serious ass-kicking.  The world building that was established at a high pace in City of Dark Magic (at times it reminded me of a madcap thirties comedy) is well and truly in place allowing the authors to focus on characterization and plot and they’ve done well with this.

The mystery is high-stakes – can our heroes save Pollina before it’s too late?  Along the way we’re treated to resurrected saints and the mysteries of alchemy as it dovetails with modern biological sciences.  There’s plenty of mystery and adventure with pitch perfect pacing and did I mention the pastries?  If you’re looking for something fun to read this is the book for you.

FTC Disclosure:  Review copy from publisher

Publishing Information:  Penguin Books – November 26, 2013

Format:  Kindle


Reading Challenges:  2013 European Reading Challenge, 2013 Literary Exploration Reading Challenge, 2013 Mystery/Crime Reading Challenge

Be sure to check back tomorrow for a Q&A with authors and a giveaway!

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