Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

Sonderbooks Stand-out 2004
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*****= An all-time favorite
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City of Masks

by Mary Hoffman

Reviewed March 8, 2004.
Bloomsbury, New York, 2002.   345 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (JF HOF).
Sonderbooks Stand-out 2004, #12, Fantasy for Young Adults

This was the perfect book to bring with me to Venice for Carnevale.

Lucien is a London teenager with cancer.  His father gives him a gift of a book from Venice.  When he falls asleep holding the book, he finds himself transported to an alternate-reality Venice, called Bellezza.

Bellezza is like Venice, but is ruled by a woman, the Duchessa, and is trying to stay independent from the Remoran Empire.  Lucien’s adventures in Bellezza are full of danger and intrigue as he finds himself surrounded by plots against the Republic.  He is a Stravagante, able to travel between worlds, but that ability has its own dangers.

While Lucien is in Bellezza, his body at home is apparently asleep.  He has to be sure he gets back each night before his parents try to wake him up in the morning.

This is a wonderfully imaginative and intriguing book.  My only grudge was against all the descriptions of the blue Bellezzan sky as I watched rain pour down on Venice!  Fortunately, those aren’t my only memories of Venice.  I think that such a magical city is the perfect setting for a magical novel, and I’m glad to learn that such a good one has been written.

Reviews of the other books in the trilogy:
City of Stars
City of Flowers

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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