View from the window seat:
Sarah Weston, a Ph.D. music student, gets the opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to spend a summer in Prague working with Beethoven’s manuscripts for a museum. But there is a shadow over her work; her gifted mentor seemingly committed suicide while working in Prague for the same reason as Sarah. With a four-hundred-year-old dwarf, Prince Max, and a child prodigy, Sarah will discover secrets of the past, secrets someone is willing to kill for.
From the summary of the book, I expected a funny but thrilling story set against the beautiful city of Prague. Unfortunately, City of Dark Magic didn’t live up to expectations. The most general problem I had was with the lack of development both in character and in plot. Sarah doesn’t have any personality or background, which says a lot about the rest of the characters when even the protagonist isn’t well defined. We’re told she’s intelligent, yet she spends much of the novel obsessing over sex and thinking very little of the work she was actually hired for.
The plot is very chaotic as well. Things are introduced that could be very interesting, but are touched upon only lightly. Sarah has access to a time-bending drug, but only gets to use it twice in the novel for basically the same exact purpose. The possibilities of the drug, and its implications, aren’t discussed. The dwarf Nico and Max are also searching for an object, but this search is taken up briefly in the novel only to be dropped completely for another plot line later. This was annoying, because the object ties an historical figure to magic, which would’ve been a really exciting storyline.
The suspense that the summary proclaimed the novel contained pretty much disappeared after a few chapters. The villian is given sporadic chapters from her point of view, revealing everything that’s going on and basically eliminating any tension.
City of Dark Magic had an intriguing premise, but with lackluster characters and a poorly executed plot, the novel fell flat for me.
Note: I received this e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley.