BOOK REVIEW: City of Dark Magic

15808242City of Dark Magic from Penguin Books is the first book by Magnus Flyte. Was the 448 page-book as interesting as the cover?

Sarah Weston is a music student in Boston. One day she gets a letter from Prince Max Lubkowicz inviting her to his palace in Prague, in order to help him catalogue documents belonging to her idol Ludvig van Beethoven.  What initially starts out as a dream job soon turns sour when her mentor Shertbatsky commits suicide before she arrives. 

In helping Prince Max to reclaim his families lost treasures, Sarah discovers a drug that heightens your senses and seemingly transports you back in time. It then seems that they will be close to finding out not just the truth behind Shertbatsky’s suicide, but also the highly speculated identity of Beethoven’s ‘Immortal Beloved’.  Through all this Sarah and Prince Max must dodge both the CIA and KGB, whilst working out their feelings for each other.

City of Dark Magic seemed to start well, but I found the plot started to get confusing. First of all your think that they are looking for the identity of the Immortal Beloved, but then it turns out that Max is looking for something completely different – I won’t say what it is, so as not to spoil the plot, but when I read it I thought ‘What? Where did that come from?’!. And don’t even get me started on Sarah’s ‘magic’ nose, which she seems to use to make judgments from ‘is this person scared?’ to ‘should I sleep with this man?’ – maybe she is part blood hound?

The characters were quite well-developed but the plot wasn’t resolved – obviously leading to a sequel. But after all that work, I felt a little cheated. My eBook version also seemed to have format issues, in that any dates, or numbers were missing (i.e 1930 became four boxes), which I think meant that I couldn’t get as absorbed in the story as I might have.

I think my main problem with this book was that I was expecting a fantasy book, but I would file this more under a thriller. If you are a big fantasy lover like me you could be disappointed. However if you do not mind your novels a little more mainstream then give it a go.

Rating: 2/5
Reporter: Wendy

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