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The Map of Moments: A Novel of the Hidden Cities Paperback – 27 Jan 2009

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Amazon.com: 14 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Good Dark Fantasy 30 April 2009
By The Mad Hatter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I decided to pick The Map of Moments up for a few reasons. Firstly, I read Golden's The Veil Trilogy starting with The Myth Hunters (The Veil, Book 1)in quick succession over last Christmas and found them to be a fun read covering many mythical creatures and gods from all different cultures. Also, who couldn't like a hardcore Jack Frost with dreads? Secondly, I have a warm place in my heart for New Orleans the locale of The Map of Moments. I visited New Orleans probably have a dozen times before Katrina and I recently when back for the first time since the storm. I should also note that The Map of Moments is the second book in The Hidden Cities series and I haven't read the first Mind the Gap which takes place in London. I decided to skip Mind the Gap: A Novel of the Hidden Cities because from what I read each book is suppose to be very standalone with no interconnecting characters and I was itching for a story placed in New Orleans.

The Map of Moments provides a great history and geography lesson for almost all of New Orleans without getting bogged down by unnecessary detail. I hate it when you read a book and the author clearly know almost nothing about the location they've placed their story in. Golden and Lebbon nailed the twists and turns of New Orleans, which makes me wonder if either ever lived there for any length of time.

Max Corbett, former professor of history at Tulane, returns to New Orleans for the funeral of his former lover and student Gabrielle. He comes back about six months after their tear, but only a couple after Katrina, the storm that took Gabrielle's life. After her funeral Max is given a map of moments by a very mysterious man from Gabrielle's past. It is a map to some of the most powerful magical events in New Orleans history and if Max absorbs enough magic from visiting these moments he has a chance to talk to Gabrielle one last time. At first Max fights the urge to follow the map, but in the end he can't deny the chance. Max explores many spots in New Orleans from its earliest beginnings to some of its darkest nights though some kind of time travel resonance.

On his journey Max untangles Gabrielle's past and her relationship to a dark and supposedly magical group that has been involved with New Orleans for hundreds of years. As he travels through a weather-torn city he depicts the terror that has shaken the city and its survivors to its very core. I'm leaving out a lot of the magic related events as they are best discovered through reading.

A quick and quite inexpensive read The Map of Moments is a truly haunting look at the dark history and magic to the underside of New Orleans and the ghosts they hide. Golden and Lebbon develop their characters well in a very believable world while painting an apocalyptic landscape. It is definitely worth checking out if you are interested in New Orleans or a bit of dark urban fantasy. I give The Map of Moments 7 hats out of 10. The next book in the series is placed in Venice and will likely be released next year.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Dark City Blues 6 April 2009
By Mel Odom - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon hit their stride in the second book of their Hidden Cities series. As of this writing, there are going to be at least four novels, hopefully more because they do a bang up job of presenting each city and dousing it in eeriness.

The first book, MIND THE GAP, is set in London. THE MAP OF MOMENTS is set in New Orleans only a short time after Hurricane Katrina wiped out the city. The news coverage of that event was so stark that images still haunt most of us. I distinctly remember pictures of bodies floating in the water and alligators swimming into the city. My wife and I had been there before the hurricane, so it was really strange to see New Orleans in such a state of disarray.

The authors play on that history without going over the top. Those horrible events run as a constant undertone throughout the book, but Golden and Lebbon never take advantage of that horror. Instead, they use the threads of magic and dark anticipation that have always been linked to New Orleans to weave their own mythos and chills.

I enjoyed the atmosphere the novel tremendously. Even in the daylight, the book feels dark and moody. Every house and every place of business seems to offer a threat. Max Corbett, the protagonist of the book, won my sympathies as soon as he stepped onto the page and I discovered he'd come back to New Orleans to bury the woman he loved.

The story turns more tragic immediately when I found out Gabrielle had cheated on Max, and he still didn't understand why. That confusion over how he's supposed to feel about Gabrielle's death is terrific and really had me hanging. But before I could figure out how I really felt about that, before Max could figure it out for himself, things got really strange.

In an almost Twilight Zone kind of moment at the cemetery where only Max and two other people showed up to say their goodbyes, an old man named Ray corners Max and offers him a chance to save Gabrielle. I loved how Max was deserted at the cemetery and had to accept a ride from Ray. Once that happened, I knew he was on a course with destiny and darkness.

That's just the beginning of Max's journey. He's given a magical potion and a magical map to track down "moments" from New Orleans's history. All of these ventures into the past lend Max magic that he's supposed to be able to use to save Gabrielle. Even though he doesn't believe that can be done, he feels he has to try. The first "moment" feels like a drunken vision and he isn't sure whether he actually experienced it.

However, the men chasing him are real. And they want to prevent him from using the map. As dangerous as the "moments" are, remaining in New Orleans is just as dangerous.

Golden and Lebbon do a masterful job of presenting the chase and the discovery of the darkness lurking in New Orleans's history. I ended up reading much of the book at night when the house was quiet, and I think that really lent itself to the overall experience. So if you can get somewhere quiet, with darkness all around, except for your reading lamp, The Map of Moments is a wonderfully creepy experience down streets littered with dead and dark things.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Slow Start but Stick with it 19 Nov. 2009
By Tim Janson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Map of Moments was kind of the opposite of Eve of Darkness. After a hundred pages or so, I was almost ready to put it down and forget about it. The main character spends most of the first quarter of the book meandering around New Orleans with little happening to keep the reader's interest. But...hang in there just a bit longer. When it does take off, it does so at breakneck speed and ends up being one haunting dark fantasy novel.

Max Corbett has returned to New Orleans a few months after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, for the funeral of his former lover, Gabrielle. Max is shocked to find that only mourner at the funeral is Gabrielle's cousin, Corinne. Gaby had apparently had a huge falling out with her family, but what could have been so horrible that they would not even attend her funeral? It's the first of many mysteries that max will find himself trying to resolve. He meets a man who tells him he could save Gaby's life by sending her a message in time to warn her. Max thinks the man is just a crazy old nut, naturally, but the man gives him a strange map. Not a map of locations, a Map of Moments...periods in time throughout New Orleans' history. Max carefully follows the map and is transported through time to witness frightening sacrificial ceremonies. What does this have to do with saving Gabrielle? Things turn from strange to terrifying as Corinne is brutally murdered and the cops think Max is responsible.

Map of Moments gives the reader an excursion into the arcane history of New Orleans and the influences of the many cultures. The deliberate pace of the first hundred pages or so merely sets the table for the rest of the book. The post-Katrina New Orleans is still being rebuilt and the atmosphere of Max's isolation, as many of the areas of the city are still nearly empty, is one of the overriding traits in the book. Slow start but the payoff is worth it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A stellar dark fantasy 26 Feb. 2009
By M. Carole - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Hidden Cities series are tellings about the soul of a particular city; the previous book was London and this one is New Orleans. Golden and Lebbon are innovative writers on their own, and together they create a brilliant, dark, supernatural quest story that keeps you hooked.

See some of the cookie cutter reviews for the plot summary, instead, I'll get into the reasons I liked it. The novel isn't heavy on character development or interaction ... and you won't really care. It's consciously done, as everyone in this book is an enigma, even to themselves, and unravelling that is part of the journey. The main character here is really the city, and the authors do a fantastic job of portraying the darkness and seamy aura that was certainly there before Katrina, and is even more pervasive afterward. I liked this one even more than Mind the Gap, and maybe that's because I've spent time in New Orleans and not in London. It's not often I think a book captures the true feeling of a place while still telling an entertaining story; this one does. In short, highly recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Strong dark fantasy with a powerful New Orleans 21 Oct. 2009
By booksforabuck - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
History professor Max Corbett wasn't proud of himself for his affair with nineteen year-old student Gabrielle. And she hurt him so horribly he fled New Orleans, promising himself he'd never return. But when her cousin calls him, tells him Gabrielle was one of the many lost in the horror of Hurricane Katrina, he pulls himself together to go to her funeral.

Max only plans on spending a few days in New Orleans--enough to go to the funeral and then visit a few of his friends in the History Department at Tulane University. But he can't resist the invitation of a strange man who seems to know more about Gabrielle than Max does. The man gets him drunk, hands him a strange concoction and a tourist map of New Orleans, and tells him he's got to gather magic from important moments in the city's past...magic that may give him the power to change that past. Max doesn't believe in magic--not at first, at any rate. But as he lives through each moment, he begins to sense that there are secret powers at work, powers that control the city, that will do anything required to keep the city in their iron grip.

Authors Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon create a horribly believable post-Katrina New Orleans. As Max wanders through the streets of that mutilated cities, he confronts vandals, people trying to re-create that which was lost, and so many whose lives have been destroyed. Gradually, he also learns of two powers in the city...one that rules through cruelty, sometimes doing good (as in defeating a horrible plague of Yellow Fever), but only for thier own purposes. The other, antithetical to the first, is a demon who stalks the borders of New Orleans, constantly attacking the wards that hold it off, seeking only to destroy the secretive magical mob that holds the city at bay.

THE MAP OF MOMENTS is powerful stuff although occasionally marred by repetition (yes, we get it that New Orleans may never recover from the hurricane). Katrina's dark shadow hangs over both Golden/Lebbon's fictional New Orleans and our own, and the horrific images on MOMENTS's pages ring especially true because they are reflected in the destruction our own New Orleans suffered. New Orleans is actually the dominant character in this story, horrible, injured, and yet still strong.
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