Friday, October 5, 2012

Review: City of Swords - Mary Hoffman

City of Swords by Mary Hoffman
Series: Stravaganza #6
Genre: YA, alternate reality
Published on August 12, 2012
Published by Bloomsbury
Pages: 368
Read From: 9.13.12 - 9.18.12
Final Rating: 4/5 strawberries









SYNOPSIS
Laura is a member of a special group. She's a Stravagante, a person who can travel through time and space. One day she finds a mysterious silver sword that acts as her talisman. It enables her to stravagate to sixteenth-century Fortezza in Italy, where she meets a swordswmith named Fabio. Laura also meets the charming and attractive Ludo, and they instantly fall for each other. The only problem? A rivalry is brewing in Fortezza that will force them to fight on opposing sides. Ludo is battling to overtake the Fortezza crown, while Laura finds herself supporting the Stravaganti, the ones responsible for preventing Ludo from succeeding. Will Laura and Ludo be able to overcome the odds?

Review

Cover Blurb: I don’t like the new cover art for the Stravaganza series, because it leers! I do like the people they choose, though, because they actually look how I imagine the characters (except this girl looks older than Laura is supposed to be). But it still stares at me, and I don’t like staring covers.


What I Liked: The conflict in this one was more exciting, and now that the Stravaganti in both worlds were more coordinated with each other, the story was able to move past any slow beginning and jump right into what was going on. Laura is, perhaps, not the strongest character this series has had, but I did like her. She did her part when she needed to, despite her own personal difficulties.


What I Disliked: While I appreciated that the Author didn’t waste too much time with Laura’s introduction as a Stravagante, it also made me feel like that I didn’t get to know Laura all that well as a character; not like the other Stravaganti from her time. And the romantic attachment between Laura and Ludo was super fast and also hard to connect to, since there is a large age gap. I don’t find the older-man/younger-woman romances romantic.



Believability: I’m not convinced cutting oneself would be a foreign concept in a sixteenth century world. Self-inflicted bodily harm is not unique to the twenty-first century; it’s been around for as long as people have suffered from depression, severe anxiety, and whatever else causes a person to do such things.



Writing Style: Good, as always. The Author doesn’t waste too much time with Laura’s introduction into the world of Stravagation, which served to make this book move faster than previous ones. We Readers know all about the Stravaganti by now; we don’t need an in-depth description again. And the story nicely picks up the action, while re-introducing old characters and giving very brief and very smooth overviews of past events and character connections.



Content: None.

Conclusion: It is said that this is the last book in the Stravaganza series. And the Author does wrap everything up in a satisfactory manner, so this is a very good end to an enjoyable series. However, the Author also leaves plenty of room for several possible sequels (and I rather hope she decides to write more), and I think they could be very good additions. In a way, this latest book has left me clambering for more, even though it is a good conclusion. While I had issues with previous installments, I did really like this one; it was a success.

Recommended Audience: Fans of the Stravaganza series, and Readers of alternate reality fiction. Both a girl-and-guy read, appropriate for most ages.

Others in the Stravaganza Series:
1)City of Masks
2)City of Stars
3)City of Flowers
4)City of Secrets
5)City of Ships
6)City of Swords

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