Book Review: City of Dark Magic

November 15, 2013 Book Review, reviews 8

Book Review: City of Dark MagicCity of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte
Published by Penguin on November, 2012
Genres: Fiction, Magical Realism
Pages: 448
Format: eBook
Source: purchased

Once a city of enormous wealth and culture, Prague was home to emperors, alchemists, astronomers, and, as it’s whispered, hell portals. When music student Sarah Weston lands a summer job at Prague Castle cataloging Beethoven’s manuscripts, she has no idea how dangerous her life is about to become. Prague is a threshold, Sarah is warned, and it is steeped in blood.

Soon after Sarah arrives, strange things begin to happen. She learns that her mentor, who was working at the castle, may not have committed suicide after all. Could his cryptic notes be warnings? As Sarah parses his clues about Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved,” she manages to get arrested, to have tantric sex in a public fountain, and to discover a time-warping drug. She also catches the attention of a four-hundred-year-old dwarf, the handsome Prince Max, and a powerful U.S. senator with secrets she will do anything to hide.

This novel was way too much fun!  It was a rainy, dreary and cold day when I started City of Dark Magic.  I had received Book No. 2 the day before in preparation for a review in December and thought I would check out the first book {it’s not like I didn’t have stack and stacks of other TBR novels to choose from but I was in a mood}.  So I cranked up the fireplace, got my favorite plush, soft blanket, snuggled into my red recliner {next to the fireplace of course!} and downloaded City of Dark Magic.

Prince! what you are, you are by circumstance and by birth.  What I am, I am through myself.  Of Princes there have and will be thousands–of Beethovens there is only one.              ~Ludwig Van Beethoven, in a letter to Prince Lichnowsky, 1806

From the first quote, even before the opening page, I was captured.  Sarah is working on her Musicologist PhD. when she is contacted for an exclusive job in Prague.  As she’s deciding if she wants to accept the position, strange things start happening.  A  “little person” presents her with a small copper box then disappears; the apartment she shares with super-sexy hunk Alessandro is broken into with nothing taken ~ only a symbol left on the kitchen ceiling; and then worst of all ~ she is informed that her beloved mentor has committed suicide and was the musicologist on hand at the castle she is to report to in Prague.  With all of the strange happenings, she must go.

Allow me to interject a note here ~ I thought I was starting a young adult novel ~ the cover is what threw me.  Don’t get me wrong ~ I really like the cover; it just appeared more YA-ish to me.  And then I read the novel and realized all of the symbolism on the front cover….but it still looks YA-ish.  Truly, my only issue with the novel.

I finally figured out I was NOT reading a YA novel when Sarah meets her colleagues for the first time at the shared dinner in the castle’s kitchen and let’s just say her stress, angst and jet lag were all wiped out in one brief interlude in the bathroom.  At that point, I do believe I kicked off the covers, sat up a bit more and really started paying attention to what was going on! 😉

To say City of Dark Magic was a fun read would be quite the understatement!  The historical aspects seemed well-researched and read truthfully.  The cast of characters are quite diverse and bring with them a touch of humor (ok, more than a touch).  It’s a smartly sarcastic humor that’s thrown in times least expected, which, I believe, made the novel.  The sexual anecdotes also thrown in when I least expected were hilarious and at times true to form.  The mystery along with the magical realism kept me captivated and glued to my recliner until I read the last sentence.

If you’re looking for a deep, philosophical, literary novel, don’t read this one.  But if you want a novel that will take the doldrums away and have you sitting up to pay attention because you’ll be laughing one minute and then saying “oh my gosh did they really do/say that?!?”   then pick this one up ~ it’s a feel-good, be happy, have fun kind-of-read.

Now it’s another rainy dreary day here in North Georgia and I’m thinking I’ll go read book 2 now! Happy Friday my fair compatriots!

How about you ~ first have you read this one? and then, have you ever picked up a novel expecting one thing and then been completely taken by surprise with another? Was it a good/bad experience?

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