Author: Magnus Flyte
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy
Release Date: November 26, 2013
Publisher: Penguin Books
Source: Finished copy from publisher
The exhilarating, genre-bending sequel to the sensational New York Times bestseller City of Dark Magic
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.
City of Lost Dreams is a unique and enchanting novel - it's completely unlike anything I've read before (aside from the first book in the series). The story once again focuses on our leading lady Sarah Weston, a music expert from Boston who is on a mission to get young Pollina into a drug trial for her serious illness. We are reacquainted with several characters from the first book - Prince Max, Pollina, Nicolas Pertusato, and others. Once again, Vienna holds mysterious secrets from the past and twisting adventures around every corner for our characters. While Sarah is hunting for a medical cure for Pollina, Nicolas begins searching for an ancient alchemical cure - and is surprised to find that a very old enemy is attempting the same thing, and appears to be steps ahead of him on his quest. Meanwhile, Prince Max is trying to piece together the reappearance of a saint who died centuries ago and keeping an eye on a pretty historian who has her own secret agenda.
Although this is the second book in the series, it was a completely enchanting and fascinating blend of genres that I immediately fell back in love with the moment I began to read. There is so much going on during this book - murders, mystery, intrigue, mayhem, romance, time travel, alchemy and espionage to name a few - that it sucks you in from the first words and doesn't let go until far after the final word is read. The characters continued to be very interesting and distinct - and I really loved getting to know them each a little more. I felt that they were a great cast of personalities for the book and were incredibly flawed and realistic. I loved getting to know more about the main character, Sarah. She's brilliant and fiercely independent, yet she's devoted to her friends and will do just about anything to learn the truth. Yet she wasn't on a pedestal - she definitely had flaws and character traits that made her feel very real. The same goes with the other major characters in the book.
Speaking of the plot - I don't even know how to describe or explain it. The authors paint such an incredibly vivid and beautiful depiction of both Vienna and Prague that it was easy to immerse myself into the setting and the story within seconds of reading. This series contains some of the best writing I've ever come across. The descriptions are so intricately detailed and vividly imagined that the story comes alive before your eyes. There's really no other way to explain it. There are several story lines that happen at once in the book, all of which are some sort of mystery waiting to be untangled, and all seem to fit together in some way that doesn't show itself to the reader until the end. The main thread of the story is once again magical and breathtaking in it's entirety. I was fully enamored by the way the story was told, the story itself, the cast of characters, and the subject matter that was talked about. All of it intertwined to make an unbelievably compelling novel that will continue resonate with me for a long time to come. Like the first book in the series, it's one of those books that you feel you must re-read over and over in order to pick up on small details you missed before and also just to lose yourself in its pages again. In summary, this is one of the most imaginative and amazing books (and series) that I've ever read. It breaks any genre boundaries and opens the reader up to endless possibilities. I'm already impatiently waiting for the next book in the series to come out so I can find out what mysteries and journeys our characters will stumble into next. Very Highly recommended for fans of all genres - especially those who enjoy historical fiction, fantasy, and mysteries. If you haven't started this series yet, do it NOW!
*A HUGE thanks to the awesome people at Penguin for providing me a copy for review!*