City of Masks (Stravaganza) Hardcover – 2 Sep 2002
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Mary Hoffman has in Stravaganza: City of Masks produced a fine, complex time-slip novel filled with a love, passion and intrigue that crosses boundaries between past and present with an undeniable eloquence and sophistication.
Lucien, a 21st century boy, is dying of cancer. As he drifts in and out of consciousness in his hospital bed during a particularly difficult course of treatment, he finds himself wandering the streets of Bellezza, a beautiful city similar to Venice and filled with riches and danger.
As he fights the disease that is eating away at his young life, becoming stronger at first, but then weakening as his cancer begins to take a serious hold, his new life in Bellezza becomes increasingly more real and he finds himself at the centre of an age old battle between good an evil on the streets of the city ruled by the mysterious Duchessa. In the midst of Lucien's confusion he encounters Arianna, a wilful girl intent on breaking all the rules. And as their friendship turns slowly to love, and their relationship becomes an integral part of Bellezza's complex history, Lucien realises that he may have no choice about whether to stay in the city, or return to his own life and the parents he adores.
Beautifully written and spilling over with rich, diverse images of an elegant, lush city bathed in history and tradition, Mary Hoffman cleverly switches between the harsh, clinical reality of Lucien's 21st century illness and the sumptuous views of an opulent culture languishing somewhere in time. Clever, alluring and with a moving and unexpected ending that will leave the satisfied reader breathless, this stunning book cries out for a sequel. Age 11-14.--Susan Harrison.
"This is gripping fare - loves found and lost, old scores settled, secrets created and revealed." -- The Scotsman, 19th October 2002See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
We first meet Lucien (one of the main characters) in his bed at home. He has cancer and, as a relatively modern issue, this shows us the stark contrast between his own world and that of sixteenth century 'Talia.'
Lucien is transported, whilst sleeping, to this beautiful and tangible world where he meets a native, by the name of Arianna.
I will say nothing more of the plot, but I would recommend anyone who loves adventure and fantasy to delve into this magical and intriguing world which Mary Hoffman has created!
It contains a terrific blend of intrigue, murder, romance and, of course, magic!
You won't want to stop reading!
The book is about a teenage boy who is dying of cancer. When his father gives him a notepad to write things down on (some days he hasn't got the energy to speak) he finds himself travelling to Bellezza, while he is unconscious, a city very similar to Venice, whose ruler is a Duchessa rather than a Doge. There he meets a girl called Arianna who is determined to get the law changed so that girls can be gondoliers. Besides becoming very good friends with her, his name is changed to Luciano, and he also finds out that he is a Stravagante-a person who can travel between worlds-and is a very powerful magician. I won't say any more or I will ruin the story but there is a murder plot involved...
I did not give this book five stars because I don't think the character development is as good as it could be, and also, the storyline could have been slightly better, although it was very good. There was also not enough said about the relationship between Luciano and Arianna. However, if there are sequels, this may be sorted out. I would certainly recommend reading this book anyway-it is definitely worth your while.
This is a very enjoyable book, which leads on to a fantastic series, so if you are wondering what to read-this will keep and get you hooked, time and time again. I would recommend this for any between 8 (at the very youngest, and definitely an 'advanced' reader) and 18yrs old, boys and girls both. I would say that this is moreso a young adult book, but would be okay for younger readers.
Mary Hoffman has a lovely touch, making the fantasy real-a lovely book to escape to, that I would recommend to all my friends, and wouldn't be embarrassed to explain to my parents.
A must read. Brilliant.
One day, when clutching a notebook given to him by his Dad, he falls asleep and is transported to a Venice-like city, 500 years ago. The countries and places are similar to those in 16th Century England with some differences in culture, history, technology and religion.
He discovers that he is a Stravagante - someone who can "teleport" from our world to theirs and vice-versa.
How will he cope in a strange country? How will he know how to get back to London, and when faced by death from risky escapades in an unknown world, how will he get back to his real home in London?
Belleza, the name for the alternate Venice, is full of treachery, murder and romance - and that's just the politics...
Mary Hoffman sculpts Belezza with the care and quality of a master craftsman down to each detail of ceremony and tradition. A thrilling read with unexpected twists throughout the book. This masterpiece rivals even Lord of the Rings in imagination and creation.
This book will thrill the current generation and many more to come.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's well written and quite imaginative. Read it before a few years again but found I enjoyed it more this time.Published on 18 July 2014 by Niamh Dorney
My 9 year old girl has really enjoyed this book and it came highly recommended from a year 7 head of English at a good school.Published on 27 Dec. 2013 by n jones
This is a fantastic story, well written, full of suspense and twists. You'll fall in love with all the characters.Published on 14 Dec. 2013 by Sara Duncan
Take some teenage fiction and add mystery, masks and a spot of time travel and you get Mary Hoffman's `City of Masks'. Read morePublished on 13 Oct. 2013 by Sarah Brown
This book is listed as a young adult book, and one of the tricks with writing such a thing is to not dumb it down for the reader. Read morePublished on 8 July 2013 by Amazon Customer
I bought this for my daughter but I began to read it on the plane to vacation. I have to admit it is one of the best written historical fiction stories I have read recently. Read morePublished on 4 Aug. 2012 by G. Evans
I loved this book which involves Lucien who is a stravaganta who has cancer, when he was ill his father gave him a notebook with led to wild adventures and great friendships. Read morePublished on 15 Mar. 2010 by Jen
Excellent book - Mary Hoffman is a great author. I am 10 years old and I think I was the perfect age for this book.Published on 11 Mar. 2009 by Bopperdingy