Customer Reviews for

City of Dark Magic: A Novel

Average Rating 4
( 63 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(31)

4 Star

(15)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(6)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

4.5 Stars 'City of Dark Magic' is a unique and mysterious thril

4.5 Stars

'City of Dark Magic' is a unique and mysterious thrill ride of a novel - unlike anything I've read before. The plot surrounds the Prague Castle and the army of academics who have taken over for the summer in order to restore the Lubkowicz Palace to its former...
4.5 Stars

'City of Dark Magic' is a unique and mysterious thrill ride of a novel - unlike anything I've read before. The plot surrounds the Prague Castle and the army of academics who have taken over for the summer in order to restore the Lubkowicz Palace to its former glory and turn it into a museum filled with centuries old treasures. The story focuses on Sarah Weston, a music expert from Boston who is invited to help with the museum - specifically with the artifacts concerning Beethoven. Sarah can't ignore all the strange happenings that begin soon after her arrival and then people start dying. Who can Sarah trust? Who is the person behind all this chaos? And what is this mind altering drug that the Prince and her mentor were taking? Will Sarah be able to get to the bottom of everything before it's too late?

This novel was an enchanting and exciting blend of genres that I immediately fell in love with. There is so much going on during the book - murders, intrigue, mayhem, sex, drugs, time travel, alchemy and espionage to name a few - that it sucks you in and doesn't let go until the final word is read. The characters are all very interesting and distinct. I felt like they were a great cast of personalities for the book and all played their parts to perfection. I really liked the character of Sarah. She was brilliant and intuitive, but she definitely had flaws and character traits that made her feel very real. There is sex, swearing, and drugs in the novel, but this didn't bother me because it didn't detract from the main story. (Well, the drug in question may have actually enhanced the plot.)

Speaking of the plot - I barely have words to explain it. The authors paint such a vivid and beautiful depiction of both Prague and the Palace - it was easy to insert myself into the setting and the story. There are several story lines that happen at once in the book, all of which are some sort of mystery waiting to be untangled, and all seem to fit together in some way that doesn't show itself to the reader until the end. The main thread of the story is magical and breathtaking in it's entirety and I was enchanted by the way the story was told, the story itself, and the subject matter that was talked about. All of it wound together to make an unbelievably compelling novel that will resonate with me for a long time to come. It's one of those books that you feel you must re-read over and over in order to pick up on small details you missed before and also just to lose yourself in its pages again. In summary, this is one of the most imaginative and fascinating books I've ever read. It breaks genre boundaries and opens the reader up to endless possibilities. Highly recommended!

Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

posted by StephWard on December 12, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

17 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

First of all, I have to honestly say that the cover is too prett

First of all, I have to honestly say that the cover is too pretty to pass up and the title is a little bit misleading. At first glance, I thought that this book would be predominantly paranormal-romance since the title has the word magic in it, but I was wrong on so man...
First of all, I have to honestly say that the cover is too pretty to pass up and the title is a little bit misleading. At first glance, I thought that this book would be predominantly paranormal-romance since the title has the word magic in it, but I was wrong on so many levels. 

The Good.

The mystery bit was really engaging. I love Sarah Weston’s back story, and how ordinary she was up until she received an invitation to work closely on a private collection in Prague. And I love how the lives of so many individuals were tied up because of a series of events in Prague throughout history.

I also appreciate how they incorporated Beethoven’s life and music into the whole thing. It made the story a lot more colorful, in my opinion. 

I also love Poli because she’s one very amazing child prodigy. Although sometimes, I do hate the fact that Poli sounds so mature for her age; too mature, in fact.

Nico/Jepp is also memorable. He is one of the characters bringing about the fantasy bit in this story and I love how he’s portrayed as someone very capable regardless of his size.

The Bad.

This story has too many things going on in it, it’s crazy!

First off, the writing is inconsistent all throughout. While I love some parts of the story, there are those parts that seem totally irrelevant at all. For example, the sex-scenes were incorporated into the story just because it can be. No other reason. Sure, Sarah and Max has to be portrayed as having developed feelings of love for each other, but to start things off in a quickie in a very dark comfort room was NOT the way to do it. In fact, all the sex scenes in this story only made Sarah look like a cheap skank who loves too much sex. 

Second, like I said, too many things going on. While I do love me some really engaging mystery, the combination of Beethoven, a former CIA operative turned Senator, a quest for the Golden Fleece, a mysterious sensory-enhancing drug, alchemy and that good old family squabble for fortune is just too overwhelming. Oh, and did I mention that hell-holes or magical portals are also included, plus immortal dwarfs and dead bodies dropping everywhere? Yes. Like I said, too much of too many things all at once.

Third, the romance between Sarah and Max felt forced. While I do concede that no two people can go through so much without developing a bond with each other, I just felt that Max and Sarah should have been given more time to sort out what they actually feel for each other, rather than to throw them into various mysterious situations.

My Rating.

I give this story three stars because it was engaging. It’s overwhelming, but otherwise, it was really engaging.

posted by Dia_Pelaez on January 22, 2013

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  • Posted February 19, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Good Idea

    City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte - intriguing title, mysteriously intriguing nom de plume! After that, it became a roller coaster ride for me.

    The plot idea is fabulous...mystery, history, and the music of Beethoven, with a little murder, mayhem and dark secret societies. Add a 400 year old dwarf, a reasonably intelligent expert of music, an unusual group of museum intellectuals/academics and a mysterious drug that allows the user to time travel...pretty cool! Our heroine is a 'grown up' Nancy Drew in many ways!

    The execution, here is where the roller coaster comes in, that slow pull to the top that sucks you in, the fast plummet that leaves you dizzy.

    High points: People are dying, there is a mysterious symbol showing up, secret rooms showing up, traveling through time and seeing Beethoven when he was alive.

    Low points: The heroine sits down to her first dinner with a group of museum experts/academics and someone has their hand going up her skirt, she heads for the powder room, the guy comes in, its dark, could have been anybody, they have sex, they go back and finish the evening. Don't get me wrong, I like sex, but, it seemed that this was just tossed in.

    Bodily functions-was it necessary to announce repeatedly that Beethoven farted, ate like a pig and burped often? Eating his toenail was kind of gross, too, but, gutsy!

    I think I was disappointed that the fabulous plot, settings and subplots couldn't have carried the book along on their own merits! The story itself was great and seems to belong to more than one genre.

    This copy was provided by NetGalley and Penguin Books in exchange for my honest review.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 21, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    It's Got It All

    This book has it all. Mystery, adventure, humor, romance, history and a little paranormal for good measure. Sarah Weston, musicologist sent to Prague to assist in the set up of a royal family museum, is smart and quick-witted. The other characters are just as rich and diverse. The story moves at a pretty quick pace and from a few different perspectives which are well timed. I loved this book. Almost enough to read again which I don’t ever do.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2015

    Love, love, loved this book! I found myself rooting for Sarah, t

    Love, love, loved this book! I found myself rooting for Sarah, the character, through out the book and honestly I really liked all the characters. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few pretty evil characters in this book, but they’re written so vividly you don’t mind them. Sarah is a smart girl from Boston who is getting her PhD in Beethoven. Although I really did enjoy her character, I will say she is bit too…horny. Yeah, didn’t think I would write those word in a book review. She always has sex on the brain to a point where is can be a little too much. Another odd fact is that she cant tell people’s character through her nose. Like she can smell if someone is nice, evil etc. I little odd but definitely original.

    I’m a huge history buff, like seriously I’m such a nerd about it and if you are too then you will love this book. There are many different characters that you will get to meet that are experts in different aspects of history. For example, Suzi is an expert in weapons and they speak a little bit of that is historical aspects. I also like how these supporting characters are unique and different from what you expect. Like how Suzi is this small Asian chick who is into guns and is from Texas. I love how they have a chapter that’s an expert in each category and they delve into a little bit. And I live that each character is unique and not exactly what you would expect. Like Suzi who is a weapons expert but a short cute Asian from Texas.

    The book is mostly set in Prague which I thought was really cool. I was very lucky to be able to visit Prague last year and it truly is a beautiful and mysterious city. Which made it the perfect setting for this story. Prague Castle plays a main part and so do other well know historical landmarks. So if you have visited this city, you will love it because it really transports you there and the author(s) really did amazing research on Prague. And if you haven’t visited or don’t know much about Prague there is a handy map of it in the front so you know where things are happening. which I thought was a nice touch.

    Overall, this book has a steady storyline, but really picks up in the end. It’s full of so many funny things that I didn’t want to really talk about it and ruin it, but trust me this book is hilarious! It had me laughing at loud at so many parts. The only think I didn’t like was how perfect everything arranged itself in the end. Like seriously, It basically wrapped and tied with a bow how perfect everything turns out. But, I’m excited there is another book. It leaves you wanting more and wanting to pick the next book up asap.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2014

    Page Turner

    I couldnt put it down! (And didnt actually)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2014

    Great read!

    I like the fact that it was a great mystery novel, but also had some humor and enough romance to be realistic but not cloying.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2014

    Sweet

    I really enjoyed this book. It was better than i thought it would be. A great suprise. More like a 4.5 but 5stars will help its rating rise.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2014

    Fantastic!!

    I read this book for a book club, and honestly I was cautious at first. Once I started reading it I could not put it down! I finished it and immediately had to buy the second!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2014

    QUIDDITCH ARENA

    For practice

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  • Posted January 20, 2014

    Great read! I got this book when it was BN's Nook book deal of

    Great read!

    I got this book when it was BN's Nook book deal of the day, I think.

    Other than the fact that it was kind of slow in the beginning and I had no clue what I was actually reading for the majority of the book, whether this was paranormal, fantasy, mystery or just plain fiction, this was fabulous! I think my confusion added a type of suspenseful quest in my trying to hurry up to finish so I could figure out what the heck was actually going on.

    I've never taken drugs before, and I never plan to, but gimme some of that toenail! (You can only understand this reference if you read the book. Which you should do. You'll want some toenail as well.) Sarah's trips were so well done. Her first one was a little terrifying though. ... I just realized I should've listened to Beethoven the whole time while I read this! I definitely will if I ever reread this. I don't know what I was thinking!

    I usually don't read "plain" fiction because it turns out depressing and sad and boring but this was mysterious and had a lot of historical content. One thing that led me to read this was the setting in Prague. I knew nothing about Prague or the Czech Republic except that it's right in the middle of every primary warzone in Europe. It seemed like an interesting setting for a book titled "City of Dark Magic."

    I laughed. I was tense. I was confused. I was excited. I laughed some more. I cheered. I would've liked Max a little more developed and would never complain about more Suzi or Nico. (If any of you watch Lost Girl on Syfy, you probably picture the Blood King as Nico like I do. Just want to squeeze him.)

    Great read if you can get to where it really picks up! I'll keep an eye out for deals for the sequel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2014

    A wild ride!! Magical fun.

    Where are you going to find history, magic, Beethoven, a 400 year old dwarf and a modern prince? Prague of course!! But wait there's more... This is a fast paced romp through time with a very real mystery in the present. Great fun. Good read.

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  • Posted January 17, 2014

    Loved it

    Having been to Prague I felt a part of the story and loved the way the story evolved into a great mystery. Would recommend this book

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  • Posted January 17, 2014

    I LOVED this book.

    I LOVED this book. It was easy to read, had a great story, moved right along at a good pace. I'm reading it a second time. Great value.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2013

    Great

    Great book! I really enjoyed this story! It was magical, fun and suspenseful! Great story line, great plot and awesome characters! Loved it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2013

    Good

    Good storyline.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2013

    Jesus freak 102

    You know magic isnt real,but we can still enjoy it because God gave man the idea of imagination so we can enjoy the storys.Well,God bless yourr heart and soul.Oh and look up "Lord I need you"It is my favorite song for non belevers.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2013

    To: to everyone wo got a free copy

    Dude there is a way to get on google on the nook i know because i did it

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2013

    READ THIS ITS BROKEN

    Hay i know i said to comment on the next res in chapter 16 the final chapter but dont just comment where chapter 16 is posted. Thanks! -Broken &hearts -

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2013

    Grear Great

    Awesome book!

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  • Posted June 3, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Strange things are happening in Prague, beginning with a party w

    Strange things are happening in Prague, beginning with a party where all the guests in attendance begin to jump to their deaths. Shortly after this Sarah Weston receives the opportunity of a lifetime to travel to Prague Castle and begin cataloguing Beethoven’s manuscripts. As a musicologist who specializes in the life of Ludwig van Beethoven how could she turn down such an invitation? Soon after she arrives however she learns that her mentor had committed “suicide” but his is the first in many unusual deaths that begin to occur. 




    I am a fan of Beethoven’s music so it’s no surprise I wanted to read a book in which present day seems to intertwine with the story of Beethoven himself. I had no idea how amazing this book would actually turn out Magnus Flyte has taken multiple pasts and managed to bring them into the present in an unusual way yet it all blends together so wonderfully and precisely. I must warn you that this is truly an adult book with drugs and sex mixed into the storyline it may not be suitable for everyone, for me however the free spirited Sarah is the perfect character to tell this story. The theory behind the book is absolutely intriguing strange deaths, a drug that can let you see into the past, and all tying in with Ludwig van Beethoven what more could you ask for?  I was sent a free copy of this book for an honest review. 

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2013

    Mesmerizing Read

    This is one of the few books that left me wanting to read a sequel immediately after I finished it. The characters were engrossing and the story was full of fast-paced adventure. It was hard to put this one down. I'm looking forward to the next book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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