Stravaganza City of Secrets Paperback – 7 Jul 2008
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`I have to rave about Mary Hooper's historical fiction'
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 first three novels for Bloomsbury in the Stravaganza series have also been bestsellers. She is a complete aficionado of Italy, and her latest novel, The Falconer's Knot, short-listed for The Guardian Fiction Award, is also set there. Mary is the editor of Armadillo, a children's literature review magazine. She has three grown-up children and lives with her husband in West Oxfordshire.
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Top Customer Reviews
Matt is a normal English seventeen-year-old, until a book he got for his birthday takes him on the journey of his life -- to another world. Talia is similar to Italy, but is a few hundred years in the past from the 21st century.
On his journey, Matt meets Luciano, an old Stravagante who now permanently lives in Talia after having died in London. With Luciano, his foster father Docter Dethridge, a few other Stravagante, and many friends, Matt embarks on a journey of a lifetime. He finds himself being kidnapped, freeing convicts, and trying to pass his driver's exam!
Ms. Hoffman writes an enchanting tale that takes the reader to another world. The fast-paced novel is truly enticing and recommended to all ages. While the non-English reader might be confused by some of the references, there aren't too many that will defer the reader from the main task -- trying to find out what happens next.
This is an excellent addition to the series, with the ending leaving room for even more books.
Reviewed by: Steph
In ‘City of Secrets’ we follow Matt,the new Stravagante. He, like his predecessors, faces some modern, personal challenges to overcome and it is these that lead him to securing his talisman. The same characters return once again and they reunite to help Matt when he is in danger. Surprisingly, however, the Stravagante secret circle broadens a fair bit, with Matt’s girlfriend and Lucien’s parents finding out about the Brotherhood. I was quite surprised that Hoffman chose to do this, particularly with the offer that Matt’s girlfriend could “visit” Talia and felt that this lessened the magic of stravagation. Indeed, Lucien even returns to Islington a couple of times and I thought this did kind of go against the warnings he received early on in the series.
That being said I really enjoyed the politics and treachery of ‘City of Secrets’ and could not predict how the plot would develop. The ending is a bit of a surprise and, if I am completely honest, a bit of an anti-climax to what had happened previously, but I enjoyed the happy ending that prevailed. This time Hoffman finishes with an Epilogue and tied up all the plot strands very neatly.
I am really keen to see how the next story in the series progresses. It is clear that the political tensions from the di Chimici family are becoming more threatening for the Stravagante and I look forward to seeing them triumph over such a dangerous power. Definitely read this if you enjoyed the other books in the series because Hoffman keeps it fresh and enjoyable to read.
Meanwhile in Giglia the di Chimici are keen to get revenge for the death of one of their own at the end of Flowers. Fabrizio di Chimici sends his cousin Filippo(Francesca's brother) to befriend luciano and catch him under the new witchcraft laws Rinaldo di Chimici has persuaded the governor of Padavia to introduce. Ignoring warnings from Enrico the spy, who is now working for him, that Filippo is not his friend, Luciano classes him as one of the "good" di Chimici. And Luciano is not the only person the new witchcraft laws threaten...
Whether or not you will like this book basically depends on whether you liked the first three. if you're not intwerested in what Luciano and other characters did next don't read this. I don't actually think Flowers needed a sequel, it ended pretty perfectly but it is nice to see all the characters again. The most interesting old characters in this book are probably Luciano, Arianna and Enrico. I do agree with the other reviews that the older covers were much nicer.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book really was the perfect ratio of romance to action. Like harry potter and hunger games Mike's together. HOWEVER I just wish luciano and arrianna get married all readyPublished on 17 May 2014 by Jo Heckford
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
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.Published on 10 May 2013 by Dulwich mum
This book follows on nicely from the rest of the series. It still has the characters from all of the previous books, which is good as it brings a feel... Read more