by Magnus Flyte (Meg Howry and Christina Lynch)
Plot Summary: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.
City of Dark Magic could be called a rom-com paranormal suspense novel—or it could simply be called one of the most entertaining novels of the year.
Review:From the title, and a little from the plot summary I thought this novel would have more magical elements, but after reading it it seemed more in the vein of The Da Vinci Code with secrets long buried in history, and a thriller pace as Sarah and Prince Max try to discover who is behind the disruptive plots against the planned opening of the fabulous Lobkowicz museum. There is a lot of historical detail, murder, intrigue, and the very cool idea of a time-traveling drug.
The characters of Sarah and Prince Max were engaging, and perfect to take us on this journey through the underside of Prague. The writing is also clear and fast-paced - with the historical details never bogging down the pace of the story. In fact, I found all the additional information about Beethoven's life and Prague's past especially fascinating and I loved how it was all worked into the narrative. The only problems I had with the novel were the details over the "hell portals" which felt vague yet were important in the story and the sex scenes that seemed unnecessary and didn't really add much to the characters' development. Mostly it seemed like a shortcut for developing the characters' romance. But these are small issues I had with the book because I found it very difficult to put it down and was drawn on by the many surprises and the gradually unfolding mysteries. This is a great story with richly immersive detail, and excellently written characters. I highly recommend this book!
a review copy was kindly provided by the publisher through Netgalley