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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Guest Book Review: CITY OF LOST DREAMS


City of Lost Dreams, by Magnus Flyte (Meg Howrey and Christina Lynch). NY: Penguin Books, 2013. This is the second book in a series (City of Dark Magic was the first) telling of the musical European adventures of  Sarah Weston and her friends, a lot of ghosts, and a bit of sex.



Sex, drugs and classical music—not to mention eons of ghosts viewed only by those under the influence of said drug, or who have the gift—all in modern-day, staid Vienna.

In City of Dark Magic we met musicologist Sarah Weston in Prague, following in the footsteps of her beloved dead mentor who was, in turn, following in the footsteps of Beethoven seeking his Immortal Beloved.  While, perhaps unwisely, ingesting a drug given to her by a 400-year-old dwarf (Nico), Sarah saw Beethoven at the apex of his creative genius, fell in love with an American prince (Max), befriended a sickly ten-year-old music protege (Pols)  and solved at least one murder.

Now in City of Lost Dreams Sarah and her friends move on to Vienna in the hopes of finding “The Golden Fleece.”  The fleece they seek is not the colorful mythological sheepskin but a cookbook of sorts, a book of alchemist recipes, some purporting to bring immortality -- or cure it.  (Her dwarf friend was the victim of one such experiment.)  Another recipe purports to induce visions in which the participant can travel through time and interact with long-dead (or maybe not) historical characters.  Yet another is supposed to cure incurable illnesses. Sarah's mission this time is to find a cure for the gravely ill Pols. 

The book is fast paced and filled with scientific and historical references to purpose, place and time, all of which become blurred under the influence of the time travel drug.  I found myself constantly torn between putting the book down to Google a scientific theory or historic place, event or character and wanting to keep reading, to run through the book as fast as Sarah and her friends to find The Golden Fleece or the ending of the story.  The novel is a mesmerizing ride through Vienna’s golden age with Sarah, Nico, Max, Pols, Beethoven, Mozart, Mesmer and a time-defying villain bent on centuries-old revenge.

Though mainly in the fantasy genre, this series so far spans romance, mystery, intrigue, historical fiction, science, and science fiction.  Now they have another time-traveling companion—a ancient rat rescued by Nico from a mad scientist's lab, and I look forward to another book continuing their adventures in history, mystery, science and alchemy. Will Sarah, like Beethoven, finally connect forever with her Immortal Beloved?  If so, in what century?  Does she still need the time-traveling drug, or has she finally found her own strength and power to move throughout time and dimensions?  We can only breathlessly await the future.  And the past.

This richly textured book is steeped in history, cutting edge science and speculative fiction at its finest.

*  *  *  * 
Marjorie Farrell is an avid reader of most anything put in front of her, but especially of science fiction, fantasy, art history and mystery. When she finds a book such as City of Lost Dreams which includes all of these genres and areas of interest, she is spellbound.  She is a graduate of the Clarion Writers Workshop, formerly at Michigan State University, and holds a BA in art history.

Marjorie gave me the information in the paragraph above, but let me add that she is a very creative fabric artist and craftsperson, as well, and you can see -- and purchase -- some of her work at Red Mullein, next door to Dog Ears Books.

1 comment:

Dawn said...

Sounds interesting...I've never read any science fiction or fantasy...at least not since my college days. I'll add it to my bucket list of books to read.