Book title: City of Masks
Author: Mary Hoffman
Lucien Mulholland, a teenager recovering from chemotherapy, is given a red and purple marbled notebook by his father so that Lucien can write in it since Lucien’s throat hurts. When he falls asleep holding the book, he wakes up in the enchanting Bellezza, a Renaissance Venice
-like city in the country of Talia (which resembles Renaissance Italy), ruled by a beautiful and imperious Duchessa. Here he meets the adventurous Arianna Gasparini and the mysterious Rodolfo Rossi. Rodolfo is a Stravagante, a traveler of a secret order who can move between Lucien’s world and Rodolfo’s by use of a talisman (an object from the other’s world). However, Bellezza for all its beauty also has many dangers, especially for those who become close to the Duchessa.
Stravaganza. What a name for a series…a word that doesn’t exist in the English language but is perhaps the most important thing to understand. Lucien manages to enter a 16th-century town while holding a book. This art of time-travel…for that is what this is, is known as Stravagation- thus the title. To stravagate, one must have a talisman from the place one is to stravagate to, along with a burning desire to escape your day-to-day life. However, you don’t choose a talisman, it chooses you. In this thrilling adventure, Lucien gets a talisman (won’t tell you how :P) and arrives in Bellezza without knowing what he has done. Here he meets Arianna, a girl who desperately wishes to become a mandolier (gondolier of recent Venice) and their adventure through the city-state of Bellezza begins. Mary Hoffman has managed to bring out her characters wonderfully. You can empathize with Lucien, laugh at Arianna’s mischief and find yourself entrapped in the Duchessa’s mesmerizing eyes.
This book is a fast-paced page-turner that speaks of time travel, deception, political intrigue, assassination, kidnapping and many other twists. It’s guaranteed that you won’t guess the ending until you read it.
This book is ideal for (10+) although even (20+) people would enjoy this book. This book falls under the genres: Fantasy, Romance, Thriller, and Adventure. So if you like reading any of these genres, this book would be highly recommended. Even if you’ve never read these genre’s before, this is book is such that you must read it at least once.
This is the kind of book that you would want to read in one sitting, curled up in bed or on the couch during a long weekend, or Lazy afternoon.This book is itself a talisman that will take you to the wonderful City-State of Bellezza and allow you to get lost in all its mysteries
–As always, comment below to tell me what you think and whether or not you’ll read it…or have read it–
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