Stravaganza, Part Three: City of Flowers
by Mary Hoffman
The third book in the Stravaganza
series reunites many heroes and villains from the previous two books, adds new people and scenery, and brings the series and most of its characters to a climactic confrontation.
Sky Meadows, like the young Stravaganti in the first two books, lives in present-day London near the site of an Elizabethan alchemists workshop. Into his grim young life, marred by a sick mother and an absent father, comes a beautiful but mysterious perfume bottle. When he falls asleep holding it, Sky wakes up in another world, another time, another city in an alternate-world version of 16th-century Italy.
In Giglia, the Talian equivalent of Florence, in the weeks leading up to a quadruple marriage of a Dukes sons, nieces, and cousins, a feud between two wealthy families is about to break out into open war. Vendetta, assassination, spying, and pageantry are all mixed up together, while a dreadlocked boy from a future world, disguised as a novice friar, tries to learn what task he has been brought there to do.
Knives stab, swords clash, poisons burn, and a fiendishly ambitious Duke tries to put Bellezzas young Duchessa in such a position that she cannot keep him from gaining power over her city. Meanwhile, a circle of concerned Stravaganti try to hold back what seems like inevitable tragedy, even while at least one of them is considering a permanent move from one world to the other. Friendships are tested, family bonds are strained, affairs of the heart run afoul of affairs of state, and all the while the river is rising toward a confluence of human tragedy and natural disaster.
Mary Hoffmans books plunge you into an unusual, yet exciting world of magic, intrigue, and romance. They arent 100% consistent; for example, I still cant figure out why, at the end of the first book, the doctor closed the eyes of a dead person who had been in a coma for weeks. But they are richly entertaining, compelling reads. And they might even stimulate you to learn about the Italian Renaissance on your own!
Recommended Age: 13+
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