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City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte
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City of Dark Magic (edition 2013)

by Magnus Flyte

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3363132,756 (3.34)30
Member:Stewartry
Title:City of Dark Magic
Authors:Magnus Flyte
Info:Thorndike Press (2013), Hardcover, 623 pages
Collections:Read, Your library
Rating:**1/2
Tags:Netgalley, Kindle, fantasy, music, Beethoven, Prague, spies, WWII

Work details

City of Dark Magic: A Novel by Magnus Flyte

  1. 00
    Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan (4leschats)
    4leschats: Both books deal with the collision of ancient and modern mysteries with similarities in quirky characters, novice journeys, and magical elements.
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Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
This is not the usual type of book for me, but something must have intrigued me. There were a few times when I wondered if I wanted to continue reading the book, but I am glad that I finished it, and even read the sequel, and enjoyed both!! ( )
  IceQueenTN | Apr 22, 2014 |
Sarah Weston is an expert on Ludwig Von Beethoven, sure, but she is still really surprised when she is invited to Prague to work on an exhibition of Beethoven artifacts owned by the House of Lobkowicz. It turns out that the position was originally held by Sarah's mentor and PhD adviser, but he supposedly committed suicide a few days prior. Upon arriving in Prague Sarah makes friends with, among others, the current Price Lobkowicz and a little person named Nico. However, she is unsure whom she can trust as there is clearly a conspiracy going on that dates back not just to the KGB in the 1970s, but also to Beethoven himself.

Another novel that felt like it was trying too hard to do too much (though this one did not feel too long). There wasn't anything particularly wrong with it, but I didn't feel very thrilled by the mysteries and conspiracies. I also couldn't really connect with the characters, which was surprising since there is a great deal of accurate historical fiction involved. My hopes might have been too high - I love magic and adore Prague - but I just felt vaguely disappointed. I would argue that there is not actually any magic in the book at all. Also, while there is not technically a "cliff-hanger", almost all of the plot lines are left open going into the next book. Which I might not read. ( )
  norabelle414 | Feb 24, 2014 |
In spite of a couple of sex scenes, this mostly reads like a YA novel. I'm probably interested enough to read the sequel, but I won't be rushing out to buy it. Mostly, it was just an ok story with ok writing and only-sort-of developed characters. ( )
  stylishboots | Feb 6, 2014 |
This book had, for me, an uneven mix of good and bad. At times it seemed like I was reading the work of a bunch of peurile guys sitting around fantasizing about elements to add for a fun story: brilliant and beautiful heroine who loves sex, handsome and rich hero, cardboard evil woman (one for each of the books), an abundance of flatulence jokes, anonymous sex, instant sex, solitary sex, athletic sex, a bit of murder, a bit of mayhem, a travelogue, and in the second book, Vienna), hallucinogenic toenails, alchemy, and the obligatory dwarf.

[Much to my surprise, the bunch of peurile guys I imagined to be using the pseudonym Magnus Flyte actually turned out to be two female writers working in collaboration: novelist Meg Howrey and screenwriter Christina Lynch.]

In this sort of college version of Dan Brown (history/mystery/art/evil/blasts from the past), we follow the escapades of Sarah Weston, 26 when we first meet her, who is a graduate student of neuromusicology. She has been invited to Prague to be a part of a team of academics curating a museum collection at the Lobkowicz Palace, where she will work on authenticating the papers of Beethoven, whose work is her specialty. Sarah believes she has been selected on the recommendation of her mentor, Dr. Absalom Sherbatsky, who preceded her there but died mysteriously in a seeming suicide. He had always championed Sarah because of her seemingly heightened power of sense, which, however, is not as great as that of her precocious, blind 11-year-old piano student Pollina.

Pollina is distraught that Sarah is going to Prague. She warns her: "Prague is a threshold ... between the life of good and...the other. Prague is a place where the fabric of time is thin.”

How does Pollina know this? It’s all part of the “spooky action at a distance” (as Einstein called quantum entanglement, or QE). Sarah doesn’t refer to QE directly, although she’s all over the ideas of dark matter and dark energy and the “relativity” of time.

In Prague, Sarah joins forces with the heir to the castle - Max, and his friend the dwarf Nico, to discover why Dr. Sherbatsky died, why others are being murdered, and why even Sarah’s life is in danger for trying to get to the bottom of everything. In addition, she helps Max in his quest for the Golden Fleece, depicted in this series as a book that might contain “the mystical theory of everything, or spells of ultimate power, or maybe just a load of crap.” In order to find out, Sarah needs to take the hallucinogenic toenails….

Evaluation: This book incorporates an eclectic blend of art, music, and history, and has both positive and negative aspects. I’ve mentioned some of the negative; but I would be remiss not to point out that there are some very nice epistemological discussions of science versus magic, some great travel info (if a bit too much), and wonderful reflections on the power of music, “the language that transversed time.” So true.

If you would appreciate a "zany" sort of "mad-cap" mystery with lots of travel and art information, this book will definitely fit the bill. ( )
  nbmars | Dec 17, 2013 |
See. My fear is really spot on for this book. I know that this was MY pick and I should finish it but why should I waste my time to reading something that is not really making me want to finish it? The only thing that is keeping me from reading it is because I was the one who choose this and made everyone read it. But really, that's not enough reason to finish a book. They (GR friends) might bully me for not finishing it, but really, I don't give a damn anymore. I'm done with this book. And for those people who I asked to read this, you don't have to finish it. And sorry.
  lexiechan | Sep 10, 2013 |
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Epigraph
Prince! what you are, you are by circumstance and by birth. What I am, I am through myself. Of Princes there have and will be thousands - of Beethovens there is only one.
Ludwig Van Beethoven
in a letter to Prince Lichnowsky, 1806
It is enough for the touist to enter the twilit little streets of ancient Prague in the evening, and the same mood will breathe on him as has been felt for centuries by those who tell of the ghosts in Prague houses. It will not seem impossible to him, as he walks the winding alleys, that some of the strange inhabitants with which fantasy has peopled Prague should emerge from the flickering shadows before him.
Jan Vanis,
A Guide to Mysterious Prague
Dedication
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Prologue: The Save Venice fund-raiser began as these things do, with Bellinis, with tiny toast points topped with squid pate, and with swaying musicians playing the greatest hits of Italian opera beneath a fresco by Tiepolo.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143122681, Paperback)

Cosmically fast-paced and wildly imaginative, this debut novel is a perfect potion of magic and suspense

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:22:46 -0400)

A music student working in Prague cataloging Beethoven's manuscripts discovers clues that her deceased mentor may not have committed suicide and becomes involved with a time-travel drug, a 400-year-old dwarf, a handsome Prince and a powerful U.S. senator.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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