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Stravaganza - City of Ships Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Length: 367 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Product Description

Review

'The narrative brims with breathtaking twists and turns. The descriptions of Talia are outstanding' --The School Librarian

About the Author

Mary Hoffman is an acclaimed children's author and critic. She is the author of the internationally bestselling picture book Amazing Grace. Her Stravaganza Sequence for Bloomsbury has its own fan forum and Stravaganza - City of Secrets, was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. The Falconer's Knot was shortlisted for the Guardian Fiction Award. She has three grown-up children and lives with her husband in West Oxfordshire.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1177 KB
  • Print Length: 367 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens; 1 edition (5 April 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003GUBI8Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #186,064 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback
City of Ships is the fifth book of the Stravaganza series by Mary Hoffman. Isabel is the latest heroine to journey to Talia, another world's version of sixteenth century Italy. All the other Stravaganzas have been called there in order to save the day and it would seem she is destined to do the same. She arrives in the city of Classe, which is on the brink of war. The evil Di Chiminci family, who have been the enemy in past books, are seeking to assert their dominance over the last independent cities. To do so the Duke has made an alliance with the savage Gate people who will attack the allied cities of Classe and Bellaza by sea. Isabel arrives as the two prepare their fleets before the invasion. As yet she does not know what role she will play but she knows that, like Stravaganzas before her, a time will come when she is faced with a decision that will change the course of the war. Until that time she can sink into this new life where during the day she's at home or school but when night comes and she's asleep she will travel back into the renaissance where adventure awaits.

In many ways this is very similar to the high school story genre, where a young woman turns from a geeky, lonely girl into a popular, happy and confident student. On the other hand, there is a serious diversion from the genre here as the transformation is due to the double life she leads in another world and safely avoids the banality of many of the other coming of age books. City of Ships will nevertheless still appeal to female readers with its succession of handsome boys and romance budding between many of the characters. If you're looking for plenty of action this will probably not be the book for you as the author dwells on character growth rather than on a rapid pace.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What can I say, the City of Ships is as amazing as all the Stravaganza books - if you haven't read them yet do - but read them in order if you can, as the same characters keep appearing in each book - which means you get to know and like them even more with each book.
The country of Talia is just as, if not more, beautiful as our Italy - I wish I could go there.
I knew the cities of the previous books, but have never been to either Ravenna or Classe - now I feel I don't need to, as Mary Hoffman has brought them to life in a quite incredible way. Her ability to merge past and present is quite marvellous, and her understanding of teenagers of today is amazing - wonderful books for all ages.
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Format: Paperback
Mary Hoffman has done it again with her usual style. I was immediately hooked by the plot, and fell in love with the new characters. I was really happy that all the old characters still featured though because I was worried that this far along in a series some might just get dropped. :D I was wrong. City of Ships had me on the edge of my seat as every twist brought the Stravaganti and Co. closer and closer to loosing their lives...Read on for a battle to rival the one in City of Flowers!

Just right. Light, enagaging and thrilling. I would recommend it to anyone, and a great deal through amazon.
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Format: Paperback
Just when I thought Mary Hoffman had covered all original ideas for the Stravaganza series, ‘City of Ships’ brought a fresh and interesting plot that I really enjoyed. This time set in a coastal town featuring pirates and a pending attack, ‘City of Ships’ felt more of a unique story compared to the rest in the series. I can’t guarantee this review won’t contain any plot spoilers, so if you are reading this without having read the earlier books in the series, then I definitely recommend that you check out my other reviews, for Mary Hoffman.

The town of Classe felt different to the rest of the cities in Talia and this might be because of the pirates and sea-faring espionage. The pace seemed to move a lot quicker and there was always the sense of impending danger to what appears quite a vulnerable province. I enjoyed the battle scenes on the sea because it was so different to the previous duals and sword fights in Talia but, admittedly, I did find it difficult to keep track of which ship was on which side.

Another refreshing part to this story is how the talismans have evolved. The present day Stravagante work more as a team and want to help their newest recruit, Isabel, understand as much as possible about Talia. Indeed, Hoffman throws a few surprises in along the way and whilst I don’t want to ruin it the for other people, I have to stay it made the book just that even more fantastical and enjoyable. I enjoyed the freedom that the Stravagante seem to have and the unpredictability of the journeys means that I just cannot predict how the sixth (and final?) instalment will develop.

I’m relieved that ‘City of Ships’ had more of a unique plot as I always feel that a long series is in danger of becoming repetitive.
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In the fifth installment of the Stravaganza series, we meet Isabel Evans, a young girl with a love of Art in particular mosaics, so it comes as no surprise that her talisman is a small bag of silver tesserae. The journey begins with the quick action expected in Talia, with the usual undertones of aggression from the Di Chimici family, and it is not long before Isabel is a practicing Stravangte with all the complications of her life in Talia, spilling into her life in 21st Century England. Mary has a knack of exploring teenager's dreams and jealousies with ease - the confrontation of a new set of friends for Isabel, and secrets she cannot discuss with her best friend! Talia/Italy is described beautifully once more and Mary's evident love of the country is demonstrated so perfectly I feel I could not bear to visit Italy in case it does not live up to what I have read in her books!
There may be a spoiler for a potential next book (I hope so!!!!) somewhere in the pages, but I'll leave you to find that. Everyone you would want is here in the book, the loveable Rodolfo, the handsome Lucien, Georgia, Sky, Matt, but its never complicated, and it is all executed beautifully. There's an amazong revelation about Stravagation in the book and if that is not enough - there's Pirates too! Real ones!
There is one thing I would seriously recommend first though. If you are reading these books to your children, read it yourself first because you will soon loose yourself in the book. I devoured it completely in one day!
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