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- City of Dark Magic (City of Dark Magic, #1) by Magnus Flyte;
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Amazon Renewed Like-new products you can trust. I think it helps to know what you are getting into from the beginning instead of expecting one type of book and getting another. The writing in this book was a little off-putting for me. It felt like I was reading a YA novel, but there were some pretty descriptive sex scenes that negated that notion.
The pacing was also oddly inconsistent; I never felt a sense of urgency until the last thirty or so pages of the book. City of Dark Magic had a strange and somewhat convoluted plot. Another thread begins with the American senator, Charlotte Yates. We are given her inside POV and she is setup as the bad guy from the get-go, so no real mystery for the reader. Finally, Max is searching for the Golden Fleece and that remains a loose end. The plot was just not very cohesive at all and many pieces felt extraneous.
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I am entirely grossed out by the thoughts that Sarah and Max were eating toenails at the beginning of the story in order to ingest the time-travel drug. Yes, actual toenails that had residual amounts of the drug from the original user.
Not toenail-shaped pills, actual toenails. The main heroine is Sarah Weston, a doctoral candidate who ends up in Prague for the summer after receiving a mysterious job offer. The fact that she used her nose to make judgments was weird as well. She could smell when she was attracted to other people, she could smell when things were fishy, and she almost literally sniffed out a bomb. It was more than a little strange.
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Her original characterization made it seem like she was a smart, no-nonsense kind of girl, but she made some really bad choices right off the bat that made it hard to take her seriously for the rest of the book. Max was the main love interest, and it bothered me that other characters were telling Sarah she was in love with him after she had only met him twice. Overall, Max was a pretty bland character. Nothing about him really stood out to me. Most of the other characters in this book also suffered from a one-dimensional characterization.
There are many other scholars with Sarah and Max, but they all just blend together into an unimportant smarty soup. The most intriguing characters in this book were Nico, an immortal dwarf, and Pols, a blind child prodigy. Of course we only got to spend a little time with each of them, but I would have been interested to learn more from their points of view. Nico is trying to find a way to die. He took an eternal life potion unknowingly and he has been alive for more than years now. Pols is an absolute wonder on the piano but her condition has kept her mostly at home where she has become deeply religious and even thinks she can feel Beethoven when she is playing.
I enjoyed all of their plot time immensely. I would maybe recommend this to adult YA readers, but only with the caveat that it is more spy games than fantasy. View all 13 comments. Nov 24, Tracey rated it liked it Shelves: fantasy , 3-star , netgalley , time-travel. This book received from Netgalley did not get off on the right foot with me. The publisher apparently thought it would be oh-so-amusing to put this little note at the very beginning: "The manuscript of the book you are about to read arrived in the mail one day at Penguin headquarters in New York with no cover letter.
It was written on stationery from the Hotel La Mamounia in Marrakech using a manual typewriter, and postmarked on the Isle of Mull. The return address was simply 'Flyte, Magnus. He may be American. He may have ties to one or more intelligence organizations, including a radical group of Antarctic separatists.
He may be the author of a monograph on carnivorous butterflies. He may live in Venice, Vienna, Vladivostok, or Vermont. City of Dark Magic may be his first novel. This has an archness to it, an aren't-we-clever-ness, which I find completely off-putting — and that's without even bothering to bring up the little fact that a writer sending in a book as described would have their manuscript circular-filed before the echoes of the manual typewriter died.
This just … isn't funny. In point of fact, a pair of women wrote it. Just say so. Adding to the bad taste that left in my mouth - The Goodreads ad that keeps popping up for it: "What do a music student, a U. A mystery in Prague. Conan O'Brien a reviewed a book and b called it "deliciously madcap"? Are we talking about the same Conan O'Brien? It irritated me because the " year-old dwarf" thing was a complete spoiler for me. The other irritation is — "madcap"?
No, it's not. Madcap: wildly or heedlessly impulsive; reckless; rash: a madcap scheme. Synonyms: Farce, romp, frolic. Bringing Up Baby is the first movie to come to mind and also in a search. Bringing Up Baby does not have a body count. Arsenic and Old Lace , also a madcap comedy, does certainly have a body count, but all those killed are a killed off-screen, b are complete strangers to the viewer, and c are killed by sweet, well-meaning old ladies.