I’ve said this before: I have a thing for urban fantasy, and that thing is that I can’t turn it down. Give me a realistic setting, some crazy characters, throw a veil of magic over it, and I’m all in.
CITY OF LOST DREAMS is the follow-up to Magnus Flyte’s CITY OF DARK MAGIC, where once more we meet up with musicologist Sarah Weston. After finishing her education, she’s back in her hometown of Boston and desperately missing the friends she left behind in Prague, particularly Prince Max. It doesn’t help either that she recently broke up with him, unable to stand the distance in a long-distance relationship. What draws her back to the city, though, is Pollina. The blind music prodigy, whose health is failing rapidly, is with Max in Prague working on a new piece of music. Sarah is on her way to Vienna hoping she’ll be able to get in touch with a doctor whose research looks as though it might be beneficial to, and maybe even cure, Pollina. She is determined to find a treatment, unwilling to let Pollina succumb to something she believes she can change.
"If you liked CITY OF DARK MAGIC, you’ll probably be willing to go on another trip with Sarah and the strange gang she has assembled. Be prepared for the outlandish, and be entertained."
On her arrival, things go downhill fast. Her friend, Nicolas Pertusato --- or Nico, as he’s known --- is filling her in on all the gossip, including Max’s new girlfriend and Pollina’s health, when a man suddenly ends up in the river and in goes Sarah to rescue him. Nico, who just happens to be over 400 years old, reports that the person Sarah fished out of the river shouldn’t be there --- he died several hundred years before. It’s as if this corpse magically appeared out of a time portal. With strange things churning, Sarah goes looking for a doctor who may have found a possible cure for Pollina and ends up finding more than she was ready for.
As I said about the first book in this series, just forget all reality and go with it. It’s strange but also oddly entertaining at the same time. Characters who are exceptionally long lived --- several hundred years old, in fact --- keep showing up, and time portals magically appear. Don’t forget about the drug that allows one to experience the past, throw in a bit of art theft, and you have a story that defies one too many plot twists. Luckily for me, I liked all the crazy, and it keeps topping itself --- one page after the other.
Sarah can’t walk down the street without something happening to her. Here’s the thing, though --- it’s all crazy, so the crazy that’s heaped on a single character doesn’t stand out too much. You stop wondering how it’s all going to work and just go with it. While the drug that allows people to essentially experience the past is in short supply this time around, it still plays a part. It’s an innovative way to drag the past to the present in a story that overlaps timelines.
If you liked CITY OF DARK MAGIC, you’ll probably be willing to go on another trip with Sarah and the strange gang she has assembled. Be prepared for the outlandish, and be entertained.
Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski on November 27, 2013