So I requested City of Dark Magic on Netgalley mostly because I saw it took place in Prague, and that was really all I needed. Prague is awesome. I loved studying there. I loved walking around there. I loved eating there, a lot of the time. So much cheese!
Anyway. So I got this book and completely disregarded the synopsis. That’s probably good, because I’m not sure it would have grabbed me. But the book itself did. You can take a look at the plot synopsis by clicking on my link to Amazon, so I’m just going to jump into all the reasons this book totally, like, speaks to me, dude, and also why I want to be in the movie adaptation (I also want to play Karou in the movie of Daughter of Smoke & Bone, because hi, that shizz was one of the best books I read all of last year. LOVED IT. Anyway.)
There are all of the things I have studied in higher education here. Except kidlit.
Sarah Weston is a Beethoven scholar. Have I ever mentioned that Beethoven is one of my top composers? He likes C minor and C-sharp minor chords and so do I. So when Sarah gets to Prague to help with the Lobkowicz museum’s collection of Beethoven stuff, she gets to go through all this stuff and learn how to preserve it all and arrange it all and display it all. Correct me if I’m wrong, but LIBRARY SCIENCE AND ARCHIVING. FTW. The details are pretty great, and I got some Beethoven trivia in as well as a prose soundtrack that was expertly described. BAM. There’s my undergrad major (except for my last semester) and my MS.
This book takes place in two cities I have spent time in: Boston and Prague.
I sort of live in Boston. Lately. Sarah goes to a fake college there, where she’s getting her doctorate. JEALOUS. But really, the story is in Prague, and the setting is all around the Prague Castle, which is not a castle so much as a compound of awesome buildings in the plural, and it just so happens to be down the street from the dorm I stayed in.
To be fair, however, I’m not sure how rich a setting Flyte has created for people who don’t know Prague. There is a lot of name dropping – Mala Strana, Charles Bridge, etc etc – but names aren’t really the best set dressing. So, if someone who has never been to Prague reads this, will you tell me what you think? Also, I don’t remember any peppering of Czech phrases. Not even one “Dobry den” for good measure. Srsly?
This book makes a great case for New Adult.
What I mean by that is that this book has no New Adult label on it that I can see, but it is about a twentysomething with twentysomething issues. Real ones, mind you, not chick lit ones. She’s a poor-ass grad student who needs to make an academic name for herself, a very hard thing to do (we’ll ignore the part where she has a cliche chip on her shoulder about being poor and that she’s boringly white even though she’s from a very diverse – and second-most segregated city in America – place and could be something else. That would have made it a bit more interesting. But anyway). She has sexcapades that are fun and sillypants but also pretty believable. She, you know, doesn’t know everything. But she also doesn’t know nothing. I like that.
If you want to say that New Adult is YA with older people and older problems n stuff, this doesn’t quite fit the bill, because it doesn’t quite have the immediacy in narration and storytelling that makes people so into YA. The third person is probably necessary, but it probably also stunts the story, forcing it to be more of a plot-driven novel than a character-driven one, even though the protagonist is fairly interesting and compelling.
There are drugs, and they’re kind of like magic.
So that’s just cool. Also, I felt shades of the novel I’m working on, but whatever. I’m sure Luigi has enough love for us both, Magnus Flyte. Peace.
Hey! I don’t read mysteries.
Again, the travails and joys of not reading book synopses or jacket copy before picking the novel up. This is an art and music mystery. I don’t read mysteries. I don’t read genre fiction, really, or at least not grown up genre fiction. Speculative is about as far as I go, unless pushed or really, really intrigued. This one’s some great speculative realism and mystery, folks. You should read it. Because I’m quite sure the movie’s on its way, and if it’s not, I volunteer to adapt it, because that’s actually an independent study I’m planning for some of my coursework. So, umm, gimme a call?
I’d say this City of Dark Magic is worth picking up, friends.