Friday, 22 February 2013

Review: City of Dark Magic

My Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | TBD

Synopsis: Once a city of enormous wealth and culture, Prague was home to emperors, alchemists, astronomers, and, as it’s whispered, hell portals. When music student Sarah Weston lands a summer job at Prague Castle cataloging Beethoven’s manuscripts, she has no idea how dangerous her life is about to become. Prague is a threshold, Sarah is warned, and it is steeped in blood.

Soon after Sarah arrives, strange things begin to happen. She learns that her mentor, who was working at the castle, may not have committed suicide after all. Could his cryptic notes be warnings? As Sarah parses his clues about Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved,” she manages to get arrested, to have tantric sex in a public fountain, and to discover a time-warping drug. She also catches the attention of a four-hundred-year-old dwarf, the handsome Prince Max, and a powerful U.S. senator with secrets she will do anything to hide.


"Prague is a place where the fabric of time is thin."

The title and the synopsis is misleading! I was attracted by its cover and synopsis that I expected magic—real magic, mysteries and secrets that would blow my mind. But at the end, I am still asking myself what did I just read..

The mystery of Prague, or at least the gist of it was revealed at the beginning of the story. It achieved its goal to make it feel mysterious and a bit creepy, but the problem is that it was told by the characters not implied in some events that took place. I might have felt the right emotion if it was slowly unveiled by what will happen in Prague. Keyword: slowly.

As mentioned, everything was revealed immediately making the rest of the book dull. I was expecting some big, mind-blowing thing to happen that would top what Alessandro and Pollina said but it was still the same. The climax didn't have a big bang, unlike what I expected. Even a 'bang' would suffice, but none happened.  What's with that freakin threshold? We need more information about it! There were lots of things that were left as it is without any explanation. It had a promising premise but it turned out to be a disappoinment.

As for the characters, I really tried to like Sarah. Her love for music and her talent was awesome. I was impressed at the part where she recalled her lessons with Professor Sherbatsky, but that's it. She was poorly developed and flat. The only change in her that I noticed was her willingness to believe in things that she thought was absurd.

The villain.. Was that senator the real villain of the story? After reading the story, I can't understand what in the world was her real motive. She gave so much effort and harmed a lot of people for what? Her reasons were so petty. For someone who exerted so much effort, the time she was mentioned was wasted in reminiscing instead of plotting.

Another problem is the length. It was long but there were lots of unnecessary and irrelevant parts. Some were thrown in the plot and then left as it is. One example is the death of Sarah's father when she was in fourth grade. It seems to imply that she was intensely affected by the loss but rather than show some profound proof, maybe with her beliefs and the way she lives her life, we were just told that she took it hard and missed him so much, etc. Another is the sex scenes which was obviously thrown into the plot to, I don't know, maybe show some edge with Sarah's character or imply the age group of this novel? But it didn't achieved that. Sarah didn't turned out to be a badass, I-don't-give-a-shit character with some edge. She turned out to be a woman who have a very active libido that would hump on someone who has a stick.

Another thing that didn't helped me in absorbing the story was the format of the ARC. Was it just my copy of everyone had boxes instead of numbers? I hate reading sentences with dates where I have to think of it as blank. I can't even connect some information because of the lack of date. 

If the synopsis didn't mentioned and promised too much about the non-existent 'dark magic' and maybe made loads of revision, this could be better than what it is. I like the part about the music and history though. Maybe this was a good one to others but City of Dark Magic and I don't mix well.


This copy was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my review in any way.

1 comment:

  1. It's too bad everything was revealed in the beginning making the rest of the book sort of pointless. Sorry this didn't work out for you, Charlie. Thanks for the helpful review. I'll be passing on this one. :)