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4.4 out of 5 stars12
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 21 July 2012
If you liked the previous Stavaganza books, you should give this a shot, like I did.
The past couple of books in the series, in my opinion, haven't been as good as the earlier ones, but I like the characters and the setting so I bought this book.
Straight away I felt it was rushed and exaggerated, with the author trying hard to keep things interesting but just going too far and making quite ridiculous plot jumps.
I still love the setting and some of the characters, but I feel that the newer books are more about just furthering the action and less about making the characters relatable or going a bit more in depth in any aspects.
I think that the author is just trying to keep the series going for as long as possible, and it's not working out for the best.
I'll always have a soft spot for the Stravaganza books, but I really don't know if I'd buy the next ones, if there are going to be any.
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on 5 April 2014
So, Mary Hoffman brings the Stravaganza series to a close with ‘City of Swords’. It was a solid book but I do think that those who could access Talia at the end was just a little too easy for my liking; in my head, to be a Stravagante is something that is exclusive and a role the character had been chosen for, and I think this does get lost in the story.

But, my! What a sad Stravagante we meet in ‘City of Swords’! Laura is very different to the previous Stravagante and the issues Hoffman explore are quite thought-provoking and one that is every parent’s nightmare. The difficulty Laura faces in accepting her new role is unlike her predecessors and she often does not wish to return to Talia. I felt really sorry for Laura and her family after what she goes through and the twist towards the end of the book was really so unexpected, I felt like I had missed something earlier on! This twist really needed more attention and I think it would have been good if this had been introduced and explored earlier on in the novel.

Once more the story has a lengthy list of characters so it is either a good idea to read this book closely after ‘City of Ships’, or keep consulting the character list at the end of the book. I still found the characters and family loyalties a little confusing but liked the drama the extensive character list brought. Indeed, as the novel reaches its climax, it felt like there was tension and action from all of the the characters.

I really enjoyed reading this book and felt that the ending was nearly conclusive. Like so many films, Hoffman does not fully finish the story, leaving it open for further books in the series. I wish that it had been totally finished off because I would have found this far more satisfying, particularly as this has been quite a long series. What let it down for me is that it did seem a little rushed and I was keen to know what had happened to the Stravagante once they had returned to Islington after the final show-down.

True, the plot is a little predictable but this book is in keeping with the rest of the series. I think most of my enjoyment came from the fact that I knew this was the last in the series (I really hope Hoffman doesn’t open it up again) and the personal challenges that Laura has to face are almost reminiscent of Lucien’s in the first book. I would recommend it if you have already come this far in the series, just to see how it plays out, but don’t be surprised if you feel like the ending is a bit of an anti-climax.
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on 19 September 2012
I've been reading the Stravaganza series since the second book came out. It easily comes down as one of my favourite fantasy series. However, this latest book was unfortunately disappointing.

In previous books Hoffman spent a good deal of time setting up the main character. We found out why the character was chosen and some time was spent on the character exploring Talia before finding others Stravagante from the modern world. In this book this was barely covered. Within the first few pages Hoffman stated what is wrong with Laura with little development or time going over it. It was pretty much a page explaning that Laura is depressed and self-harms. Then within a few pages later the other modern Stravagante immediately worked out Laura was the new stravagante and confronted her about it BEFORE she travelled to Talia. It seemed that Laura just accepted that what her friends were telling her was true and she just went along with it without questioning.

Hoffman also does not put much detail in the romance between Laura and the guy who starts the civil war. There was no development on it at all. It was just stated that they were in love. Also the guy who starts the civil war is a bit contradictory. He seems to not want a war to start but at the same time he seems all for it.

The issues I had with it, that I have just outlined above, was that it lacked detail and development. The whole story felt rushed and the characters a bit bland. It's ashame because I know Hoffman can write so much better than this! I loved the previous books, you could explore the world of Talia with the central character and really get engrossed with the story. With this book, however, it was lacking that magic.

I hope Hoffman's next book is a lot better than this one. At the moment she seems to be writing them for the sake of it not because she really wants to. I feel it has significantly effected her quality of writing.
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on 11 March 2014
City of Swords is the Sixth book in the Stravaganza series where various troubled teenagers find themselves time travelling back to the equivalent of Sixteenth Century Italy, only in a parallel universe. This novel sees Laura, a quiet school girl who secretly self harms, transported to Tallia and the city of Fortezza, also known as the City of Swords. There she is faced with the task of helping to resolve a dispute over the city's ruler and bringing to an end the siege that grips the city.
However when she falls in love with the disputed ruler Ludo she is torn in her decisions, and when his life hangs in the balance she does something that could have massive consequences. These books are a great teen read and I would highly recommend to anyone who loves a good adventure.
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on 15 January 2013
I enjoy all the Stravaganza series books. This one has a lot of action and intrigue.
Although it is supposedly meant for youngsters, an adult can have a good time reading it.
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on 22 July 2013
This book follows on in the Stravaganza series, bringing in a new stravagante. As with all these novels the plot twists to it's inevitable happy conclusion. The only criticism I have of these novels is that they are a bit safe. The hero never dies!
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on 10 May 2013
have bought the series and this is a great book / series. I can't wait for the next one. service from vendor was very very good.
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on 14 December 2013
This is a fantastic story, well written, full of suspense and twists. You'll fall in love with all the characters.
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on 9 February 2013
Brilliant, makes me want to read all the others again. Mary Hoffman manages to write for all ages very effectively
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on 23 September 2014
Enjoyable read. Quick delivery. Thanks.
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