City of Dark Magic: A Novel

City of Dark Magic (City of Dark Magic #1) - Magnus Flyte This review appeared first on Oh, Chrys! Eerie and enchanting, City of Dark Magic is a delightful read that will take readers on a tumultuous adventure of sleuth and treasure-hunting. As a travel enthusiast, I just could not refuse reading it. With Prague as its backdrop - a place that attracts tourists alone for its mystique - City of Dark Magic is unforgettable.Many times I have seen settings that forcefully dictate the plot in an effort to latch on readers. These are the settings that lack the compel factor, the settings that are thrown in your face with Wikipedia excerpts and research jargon. Considering the alchemy-based magic portrayed in the novel, a setting such as Prague was ideal. Fortunately, this setting has a subtle, yet domineering presence. Rather than feeling like historic information was being shoved down my throat, the duo behind Flyte gently showed me, not told me, about Prague. For instance, though this novel is set in our time, readers also get to learn of ancient Prague's history via time-warping. How interesting is that? Also, the descriptions of Prague, such as its distinct buildings, its Nazi ridden past, elevate the mystery of the book. In fact, I think if this novel was set elsewhere, the suspense factor would have been less than drab. It was that perfect the combination.Now the characters in this novel are crafted well, except for the main protagonist. I really expected her to flesh out into a work of art, but she never did. Sarah Weston, a budding Beethoven expert, proved to be not only dull, but thoroughly unlikable Her father has passed away, her relationship with her mother is rocky, and her sex life is more casual than Old Navy flip-flops. When she takes on a job at Prague Castle -the biggest castle in the world - I was expecting her to get herself together and be professional. However, on the first night she ends up having a discreet sexual encounter at the dinner table, whilst the other art academics are eating. I found this unsettling, and I am no conservative reader. For me, it was a red flag that any ensuing romance involving would be poorly-constructed, and that it was.Prince Max, is slapped on with the regular princely attitude. He appears to be arrogant, selfish and disinterested. In reality though he is very concerned about the ensuring the Lobkowicz legacy is protected, and this is evident in his fervor for treasure-hunting sprees. Max is very likable despite his flaws, and though he had more potential as a character, he really propels the plot. He serves as the catalyst that shifts the plot into an even more engaging read. He unveils City of Dark Magic to its enthralling core - an intense, sometimes psychedelic experience involving legends of treasure, revelations of dark secrets and a struggle for power.Other characters that intrigued me, are the manipulative senator Charlotte Yates, and Max's loyal assistant, Nico. Though Charlotte is unbelievable because of her exaggerated power as a senator, her motivations reveal the darkness of human nature, and her machinations to acquire what she wants are terrifying, adding tension and fear into a boiling plot. Nico, is extremely lovable, especially since he is a true intellectual, and attracts readers with his humor. He is eccentric, just like Prague, and is sure to entertain readers. With such characters juxtaposing her, Sarah had no chance at ever being favorable. Her character seems to be driven by her own selfishness, whether it is for sexual pleasure, emotional closure, or career glory.City of Dark Magic reminded me a lot of The Night Circus. Besides the fact that many experts were called to a single place to utilize their talents, both novels portrayed fantastical elements that were not overdone .Despite the blurb misleading me, I was satisfied that the alchemy-based magic felt so authentic and possible. I appreciate a dose of reality in my fantasy, because it allows me to become attached easier. Also, the styles of the authors who consist of Magnus Flyte complement each other well. They maintained an absorbing diction throughout the novel, and their tasteful use of humor is enjoyable. There is even an allusion to Albus Dumbledore! What really accentuated their writing was their generous, captivating descriptions of Prague.Sometimes the plot was slow-paced, but the mystery was so tantalizing, lingering in the air, that I was compelled to vigorously read it. I found myself so absorbed in City of Dark Magic, that at times the eeriness it possessed left me with peculiar unease. I am so glad that the ending left me curious, because now I look forward to a sequel.