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The City in the Lake by Rachel Neumeier

The City in the Lake

by Rachel Neumeier

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1221098,704 (3.93)9
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After reading great reviews of this by Cybils panelists Charlotte's Library and The Puck in the Midden I was intrigued. I thought I'd remembered getting a review copy, so I dug through the never ending piles until I found it.

The City in the Lake is an immensely satisfying book heavy with myth, metaphor, and symbol. It's beautifully written book with a fairy-tale feel but more depth than a fairy tale. I recommend it for anyone who loves rich language, good writing, and depth of plot and characterization, but who doesn't need action around every turn. There is excitement, and suspense, and conflict, but it's not a fast-paced book.

Read my entire review ( )
  SheilaRuth | Aug 23, 2013 |

by Rachel Neumeier

Opening line: “The City is beautiful at sunset, almost as beautiful as the Lake itself.”

There is a City which is built on a Lake. And “At the moment between sunset and dark, the wind off the Lake sometimes dies and the air becomes utterly still. If that pause lasts long enough, it is said, the water becomes a mirror in which a man may see his true face reflected, as well as the reflection of the eternal City.” The City is the heart of the Kingdom. The King is the heart of the City. The Prince is the heart of the King. And the Prince disappears, leaving his father and his older, illegitimate, brother to search for him.

On the other side of the forest, a girl named Timou learns how to be a mage from her father. She lives in a small village and has never seen the city. She has never seen her mother. When the Prince disappears, her father goes to search for him and in time, Timou must go search for her father.

This was a lovely story, with a very understated style which was incredibly vivid at the same time. I loved the mirroring of the cities, which keeps getting more complex as I think about it. It reminded me in places of Robin McKinley, and in other places of Patricia McKillip, and in other places of The Winter Prince (actually the parallels there are somewhat striking when I stop to think about them). This is a good thing in all cases.

Although I enjoyed the writing, it was the characters I really loved. I didn’t expect to be quite so moved, but I love stories that talk about family, and this one certainly did so in a very powerful way. And for me, Neill was not only compelling but likeable. I liked that Timou’s quest was to find her father, and that in order to do so she had to turn her back on love.

All in all, this was a book that I savored and that I’ll definitely be trying to add to my personal library.

Book source: public library
Book information: Alfred A. Knopf, 2008; YA
( )
  maureene87 | Apr 4, 2013 |
Oh, book. I tossed you across the room at one point. I don't toss books lightly.

The plot I wholeheartedly disapprove of. The resolution was subtle like a sledgehammer.

The saving grace was the characters--they were the only reason I finished this. I love some of them, but that's no great victory for the author: they're made to be loved.

I do not recommend this book, and I think the wonderful characters are reduced by being in it.

I would give it negative stars if I could.
  GinnyTea | Mar 31, 2013 |
Medievaloid fantasy with an interestingly different magic system and a slightly dreamlike quality. ( )
  readinggeek451 | Jul 6, 2011 |
Reminds me of the best of Patricia McKillip. Bears a striking resemblance in tone to both Alphabet of Thorn and The Book of Atrix Wolfe. ( )
  smileyman | Jun 12, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375847049, Hardcover)

THE KINGDOM’S HEART is the City. The City’s heart is the King. The King’s heart is the Prince. The Prince is missing.
Ever since the Prince disappeared, nothing has been right in the Kingdom. Something has disturbed the strange, old magic that whispers around its borders . . . something cunning and powerful. And the disturbance extends to the farthest reaches of the Kingdom, including the idyllic village where Timou is learning to be a mage under her father’s tutelage.
When Timou’s father journeys to the City to help look for the Prince, but never returns, Timou senses that the disturbance in the Kingdom is linked to her—and to the undiscovered heritage of the mother she never knew. She must leave her village, even if it means confronting powers greater than her own, even though what she finds may challenge everything she knows. Even if it means leaving love behind.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:56 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A teenaged girl who is learning to be a mage must save her mysterious, magical homeland, The Kingdom, from a powerful force that is trying to control it.

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