City of Secrets (Stravaganza Series #4)

City of Secrets (Stravaganza Series #4)

by Mary Hoffman

Hardcover(First Edition)

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The latest installment in the critically acclaimed Stravaganza series begins with Matt, the new Stravagante. Despite having a beautiful and very smart girlfriend, Matt is insecure because he is dyslexic. He discovers that he is capable of traveling between two worlds when a leather-bound book transports him from his home in England to Talia, the parallel-world version of Italy, where he meets a fellow-Stravagante named Luciano-who is hiding from the powerful di Chimici family. Luciano has just killed the head of that family in a duel, and is in grave danger. Banding together, Matt and Luciano must resist the di Chimici family, who are on the verge of making a terrifying breakthrough into our world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781599902029
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 06/24/2008
Series: Stravaganza Series , #4
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 1,178,427
Product dimensions: 5.44(w) x 7.86(h) x 1.28(d)
Lexile: 830L (what's this?)
Age Range: 10 - 15 Years

About the Author

MARY HOFFMAN is the author of the first three Stravaganza books, as well as The Falconer's Knot, Troubadour, and the international bestseller, Amazing Grace. Mary has often traveled to research the settings for her many books set in Italy. She has three grown children, and lives with her husband in England.

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City of Secrets (Stravaganza Series #4) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
vernefan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Masks and Stars, Flowers and Secrets With all the hundreds of young adult fiction books that are published each year, Mary Hoffman¿s Stravaganza books still remain my all-time favorite series since I picked up the first installment seven years ago. City of Secrets continues to carry over a high standard mix of quality writing, fabulous characters and thickened multi-layered plots. One warning about this episode, it is not a stand alone story. One must read all three other novels before starting the City of Secrets. Without first reading City of Masks, City of Stars, and City of Flowers, you will be totally clueless and will not understand who is who and what is happening. There are many, many references in this book to events and characters in the previous novels that are key to this story¿s unfolding. The author has clearly put many years and incredible effort into creating her world of Talia, an alternate world of Italy in the 1500¿s. Each book is about a different character in a different city state of Talia, cities that correlate to real places we have in Italy today such as Venice, Florence, Siena and Padua. The period detail that Mary Hoffman gives to this series of a glamorous Renaissance Italian world is incredible. Every page a work of art as the reader is totally transported out of the room they are reading in, far away to Talia. The writing is totally evocative of the whole culture in Italy at that time, rich in wealth, and steeped in romance, art, religion and history. These stories are so full of adventure, and are enchanting and exciting.The series is about a group of teenagers in London who all happen to meander into an antique shop. Each picking out a trinket to take home. These selected items become their Talismans in which when the teens fall asleep with them, they are transported to the world of Talia. When they arrive, they are found and informed that they are chosen members of a selected secret society called Stravagantes. Stravagantes can travel back and forth, with their Talismans, alternating from modern day England to this Italian Renaissance world. Stravagating, as explained in book one, was accidently invented by one Dottore Dethridge, an Elizabethan alchemist, who early in the series adopts the main character of all the books, Lucien, or Luciano, as his foster son, a cavalier being groomed to be the future Duke of Belezza.Book four, City of Secrets introduces a new Stravagante, young Matt or Matteo, who is given a book token as a birthday gift from his aunt. Matteo doesn¿t care much for words, writing or reading, for he is dyslexic and finds reading nearly impossible. But when he stumbles into Mr. Mortimer¿s antique shop, for some reason he is fascinated by an antiquarian leather bound book in Latin and takes it home as a cool novelty. Little does he know that after he falls fast asleep, he will enter the city of Padavia of Talia. And in Talia, as is a normal occurence, any afflictions one has in England is corrected in the new world. So in Talia, Matteo can read just fine making it hard to return to a world where he is insecure and dysfunctional. Each Stravagante is brought to Talia for a purpose, consistanty so far, to help the main character Luciano in his fight against the evil family, the de Chimici. This series is a hard one to review, its so very difficult to explain, due to the fact that there are numerous characters all coming and going and many plots with subplots intertwining from one book to the other. It is almost easier to review the series as a whole, rather than each book individually. All the previous Stravagantes, Luciano, Georgia, Nick and Sky, show up in this latest novel to assist Matteo in his goal to help Luciano fight the de Chimici who are now instruments of the church, dictating that those who no longer follow the church and continue to follow pagan faiths, will be arrested and burned at the stake. In the other three previous stories we meet the nomad group of Gypsies call
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mdesmondobrien More than 1 year ago
Ugh. After picking up five exciting books from the library, this was the one I got around to first, because City of Flowers (its immediate predecessor) ended so suspensefully. If City of Flowers was something of a disappointment compared to City of Masks and City of Stars (which remain some of my favorite books of all time, especially Masks!), then City of Secrets was a mega-disappointment. I could spend thousands of words criticizing this book: The writing didn't flow, characters weren't developed very well, Hoffman didn't spend any time exploring the city of Padavia (a.k.a. this world's Padua) get the picture. The no-exploration thing probably got my goat the most, because having never been to Italy, these books are kind of like a free, exciting plane ticket. But this one spent way too much time on Matt's insecurities (Ayesha, anyone? Yuck!) Another problem I had with it was my long-abiding love of Lucien Mulholland. I adore Lucien Mulholland. Or Luciano, or whatever the heck you call him. Ditto for Arianna. So even in City of Stars I was a little disappointed that she started introducing new characters with Georgia and Alice, and in City of Flowers, even more so with Sky and Falco. They took time away from the characters I really enjoyed hearing about, even though all four had grown on me by the end of their respective novels. With the intro of Matt and Ayesha, though, it just started getting ridiculous and watered-down. Pretty much very page Luciano and Arianna weren't on was ridiculously boring. Last complaint? Luciano and Arianna, WOULD YOU TWO JUST GET MARRIED, ALREADY? Sheesh. I was really crossing my fingers in this one for a big, fancy, old-school Bellezzan party with lots of Duchessa excess, but unfortunately, it just wasn't so. I will continue to cross my fingers and pray that I'll get my wish in a sequel, but if Mary Hoffman introduces yet another Stravagante with annoying problems I DON'T CARE ABOUT, I will scream. Watch me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Was the fourth great book in a great series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the first three books a few years ago and fell in love with them. The first book specifically kept me reading, and I found all the characters interesting and unique. But City of Secrets has a very slow form of writing. There's not much action in the beginning, and when there is action, I don't feel it as intensely as the other books or any other book I have read. The book didn't have the feeling of keeping me reading. I felt like the writing wasn't at it's best, though it could have been. The plot was great, it was just the writing and format that sort of made it less interesting. It was a good book, but not as great as the rest of them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
CITY OF SECRETS is the fourth installment in Mary Hoffman's STRAVAGANZA series.

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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ever since I first read City of Masks, I just knew this was a series I had to see through to the end. City of Secrets has the action, has the romance, and has the humor. Although it was a stunning and terrific book, I just felt it lacked the need to make me keep reading and to not stop, which the other books (especially City of Flowers) tempted me to do. But it was good nonetheless.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love the series! I'm so excited about this next book. Who can't wait for Luciano's wedding?
Guest More than 1 year ago
I cant wait for this book. I read the first 3 and they were awesome. This one will just be better than the last.