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City of Ships (Stravaganza #5)

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  2,125 Ratings  ·  89 Reviews
Isabel was rushing to her next lesson when she nearly tripped over the little ped pouch. She picked it up, fascinated; it looked like a prop from a school play. It definitely did have something inside and she couldn't resist opening the string to see what it was.

Until she finds the mysterious little bag that seems to be from another time and place, Isabel is anything but e
Hardcover, 556 pages
Published June 22nd 2010 by Bloomsbury (first published March 2010)
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Veronica Morfi
Jul 05, 2012 Veronica Morfi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After finding a velvet pouch in her school, Isabel travels to sixteenth century Italy, only she soon fond out it's not really Italy, but Talia, a country in another world. She is not the only one that had traveled from present London to Talia, the other Stravaganti, as they are called find her and explain that she is to play a certain role in her visits to Talia, but no one knows yet what it is. With an upcoming war at their doorstep, the people of Talia gather their warships and Isabel will fin ...more
Apr 16, 2010 Saya rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
I loved the first few books of this series, but every time a new book comes out, I FORGET EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED BEFORE. So I spend about two-thirds of the book completely confused, trying to figure out what happened before.

The token Muslim-named character DOING HARAM THINGS really annoyed me. I know authors try to include 'ethnic' characters for the sake of inclusiveness and representativeness, but it's indiscriminate and without an understanding of or sensitivity to the group they're pluckin
The Book Queen
Apr 19, 2016 The Book Queen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
Upping my rating to five stars because I have no idea why I didn't rate this five stars to begin with. This concludes my 2016 re-read of this series, my fourth time reading these books, and I think it's fair to say I loved it just as much this time around as I did the first. This one is one of my favourites; my one complaint is that the principles of Stravagation get so much more haphazard and random as the series goes on.

It's as if Hoffman is losing control and is just throwing in weird rules
Like the others, the fifth book takes several chapters to acquaint the new character to the world of Talia, as well as introducing said character to the Stravaganti in our world, and like the others, there comes a time when the other Stravaganti have to cover for the new Stravagante while they stay in Talia overnight.

Unlike the others, Isabel has a twin to deal with, which throws in some later complications that do a lot to further the story's interest, but get wrapped up and glossed over way to
Malia Crowe
Nov 07, 2011 Malia Crowe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stravaganza is a tale of an alternate universe. It is both time travel, and space travel. Set in London, City of Ships begins with Isabel. Isabel was chosen to travel to the land of Talia. She is taught to take confidence in herself, to take pride in her art and imagination. Isabel has a twin. She was born ten minutes after her brother, and was always "behind" him in some way, grades, sports, or popularity. In Talia, she is more accepted. It is a new world, and she has strange powers and differe ...more
Mar 28, 2013 Laraemilie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
Isabel is an English teenage girl who lacks confidence. No matter how well she does at school, sports or social life, she always feels she is behind her twin brother, Charlie. However, she is the one chosen to travel to sixteenth century Talia, a country similar to Italy, but in another world, where she has a mission to accomplish. She learns that she is a Stravagante and that her task is to help the brotherhood, but she does not know how.
The pattern of this fifth book is the same again, only wi
Aug 18, 2010 Julia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let's just say I was really skeptical to read this book at first. After a completely lakcluster and somewhat silly City of Secrets (I mean 'oh, let us lift the lake with our minds and then dunk the Manoush with it!'?? Please.), I thought Mary Hoffman's talent had been depleted.

Boy, I was wrong.

City of Ships is a great addition to the series. The main character, Isabel, is incredibly more charismatic than Matt. That in itself is a plus.

Also, the story seems to be much more mature than that presen
Feb 11, 2014 Carole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was exciting, featuring pirates and battles. The new Stravagante is a great character, and I think we might have met the next (and last) one. I was especially pleased that the author didn't go down a cliched route with a certain relationship and misunderstandings weren't drawn out.
Oct 22, 2011 Jess rated it really liked it
Lacking a little in the trueness of the first three in the story. Isabel supposedly did lots in Talia this time around but the descriptions were lacking and there were a lot of gaps and her character development was kinda glazed over. Strangly enough I also found some spelling errors and grammatical errors in the final copy that I'm surprised were missed by the publishers at Bloomingdale. However I'm still a fan of that world, I just hope that volume 6 will be a little more true to the original ...more
Clare Cannon
Mar 09, 2011 Clare Cannon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 13+ years
Shelves: 13-15yrs
I think I can recommend this one with a few minor reservations... it was an interesting story, a modern girl goes back to 16th Century Italy and gains confidence and friends and saves a lost battle in the process. I just got lost quite a few times with all the names and places and times and didn't feel that everything matched up quite correctly, but the overall effect was interesting and entertaining. A few modern day teen relationship references prevent it being suitable for a younger audience, ...more
Aug 14, 2016 Petra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Het vijfde boek in de Stravaganza serie. Deze keer speelt het zich af in Classe, een mix van Ravenna en Classe. De stravangante die dit keer gekozen wordt, Isabel, heeft overeenkomsten met Georgia. Een lastige thuissituatie. Althans dat is wat ik eerst dacht, maar Charlie (Isabels tweelingbroer) is bezorgd om zijn zus. Wat uiteindelijk voor grote complicaties zorgt!

De nadruk in dit boek ligt wat meer in Engeland. De toevallige vriendschap tussen de stravagantes blijft niet onopgevallen, de groep
Tosca Wijns-Van Eeden
Jun 03, 2015 Tosca Wijns-Van Eeden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
5th book in the Stravaganza series was so much better than the previous two!
We meet Isabel, the new Stravagante who has a very low self-esteem (again), this time because her twin brother is the better half of the twin. Or at least, she feels that way. Her make-believe twin she invented was a bit useless in the story, but overall I was very happy that this book wasn't all about saving Lucien/Luciano but was a Stravagante story on its own.
Not only did I really like the girl-power in the book fro
Feb 07, 2015 Kat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-star
First off I'd like to say, for the fifth book in a series, this was great. The story has been carried on fairly well and the characters didn't get boring. I thought on those scores Mary Hoffman did a great job, but on others, maybe no so well.

One of my biggest problems is that each of the books is alike to the other. They all start exactly the same way! They're all just a bit too similar to make it fresh and new each time. It kind of bugged me that I new exactly what would happen.

Another thing t
Nov 08, 2015 Allison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a job well done. The last book in the series, and the third but less so, were lesser counterparts than the first two books. City of Ships gets pretty darn close to the magic of the first two. There is plenty of developments within the magic of Stravagating this far down the series is a nice thing see (er, read?).

[Slight Spoiler] I might have to remind myself that I am a tad older than the target market here because the downfall of this book is the nicely tied up strings in the roman
Karen Parisot
The fifth installment of the Stravaganza YA fantasy series is an entertaining read. You do not need to have read the previous books in the series to understand the gist of the story. The main character, Isabel Evans, has been living in the shadow of her overachieving fraternal twin, Charlie. That is until she literally stumbles upon a red velvet pouch containing tiny silver mosaic tiles. Thus begins an amazing time and dimensional journey that will have a transformative effect on our heroione. A ...more
Mar 10, 2014 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A re-energised Stravaganza story:

Just when I thought Mary Hoffman had covered all original ideas for the Stravaganza series, ‘City of Ships’ brought a fresh and interesting plot that I really enjoyed. This time set in a coastal town featuring pirates and a pending attack, ‘City of Ships’ felt more of a unique story compared to the rest in the series. I can’t guarantee this review won’t contain any plot spoilers, so if you are reading this without having read the earlier books in the series, then
Katie Jane
Jul 12, 2010 Katie Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just love this series.
Aug 08, 2016 Katja rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The fifth book in the Stravaganza series features a girl as the lead protagonist - let me just say it is very nice of Mary Hoffman to split the books right down the middle so we get 3 girls and 3 boys as the main characters. Goody goody! Yeah, I immediately got the hint about Laura and that she will be the next stravagante, it is quite obvious. Anyhow I quite liked Isabel but I found her tranformation to be a bit unrealistic. I mean she just goes from being invisible to getting a tattoo and a ho ...more
Nov 11, 2014 Ajita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
The fifth book from the Stravaganza series. I’ve had a lot of complaints about this book series but every time it feels good to read about Talia – almost like a stravaganti who travels back after a long while.

In the beginning I had trouble concentrating. It felt like Mary hadn’t written this book and not just because of the writing. For example, Sky says to Isabel that his mentor was also female and an artist, but that isn’t true. So, that was kind of uhm… odd. But after a few dozen pages I did
The only thing I was annoyed with in this book was the fact that they promised a wedding between Arianna and Luciano in the last book and it still hasn't happened at the end of this book, although there was another wedding. I love this series, but I'm not sure how much more the author can drag it out, apparently for at least one more book. That being said, I loved the story.

This book was about Isabel, a twin who is ignored by her twin brother and most of the rest of people in general. She alway
Continuing the gimmick of the previous books, City of Ships has an entirely new protagonist: Isabel, an intensely shy girl who is the younger of a set of twins. Naturally, through her trips to Talia she grows in self-confidence - no surprises, by the end she has a boyfriend.

Although it does have some of the same issues as its predecessor, City of Ships is a definite improvement on City of Secrets. There's a much better balance of Talian intrigue and present-day school story - and having most of
May 03, 2011 Kris rated it liked it
Recommended for gr. 6-10. This series really needs to be read in order! It was extremely difficult to keep the characters and cities straight without having the background of the first four books. (Plus there were two Filippos. Why was that necessary?) The overall premise is interesting – young people from present-day England find “talismans” and wake up transported (“stravagated”) to a world that resembles 16th century Italy. Apparently each of them is there to perform a task that only they can ...more
I think this might actually be my favorite of this series so far. That’s mostly because I identified with Isabel more than I had with any of the previous characters. She’s quiet and insecure and feels invisible until her adventures in Talia start to give her more confidence and she befriends the other Stravaganti. There are also several romantic relationships in this book for me to be invested in, which is always a plus.

This is the fifth book in Mary Hoffman’s Stravaganza series, and while each
Adela Bezemer-Cleverley
Nov 16, 2012 Adela Bezemer-Cleverley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wish-list
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 10, 2010 Elizabeth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, ya, read_2010
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Well I think Mary Hoffman has finally fallen into the series death trap that kills my interest in most authors. The main character in this book not only is flat (and a little unsympathetic) the most interesting part about her is her made up twin who is kind of hinted at as important in the beginning, but who Hoffman drops halfway through the book and never mentions again. I think Hoffman suffers from too many characters, lack of depth for who she has and lost story lines in this novel. That said ...more
Oct 25, 2011 Regina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-before
Its been a long time since ive read this series and this newest installment reminds me why i fell in love with it. We are introduced to Isabel who is a new stravaganti and our beloved group from before. I do wish Isabel got some more screentime so we could see more depth for her character but thats ok i got to see how everyone's relationship developed. I was such a Nick/Georgia fan and i still am yay! I wasn't sure about Isabel's attraction with Sky who still had Alice in the beginning but i cou ...more
Candy Wood
In this fifth installment of the Stravaganza series, Isabel stravagates to 16th-century Classe, a cross between Ravenna and Classe in our Italy. The whole novel leads to a sea battle in which Bel plays a key role, not fighting but conveying vital information to the defenders of the independent city-states. The continuation brings out more tension between the adult roles young people play in Talia and the much more sheltered lives they lead in London: in Talia, young women are marrying and having ...more
these books are getting kind of old...the best part was when bel and charlie got stuck in the wrong time period and had trouble getting back to their own time and place. this hadn't happened in any of the other books so it was more interesting. otherwise these books just seem pretty repetitive and similar to each other: problems in their own world, randomly find something that for some reason they sleep with, meet up with everyone else from barnsbury comp who stravagate, relationship problems (b ...more

When I finally found this book last year in the library, I was curious. I really liked the first books in the series, but also felt it started to drag a bit.

I was a bit disappointed. It was not a bad book, but it felt like there was a lot of repetition in this book. At this point in the story there are so many people travelling back and forth that it's in one way or another both complicated and easy. It's hard to keep track of everyone, and just how they it in the story, but on the
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Mary Hoffman is a bestselling British author and reviewer, born in 1945. She is a true enthusiast of Italy and spends a lot of her time there, which shows in her Stravaganza novels: a series currently in publication. In total, she has written over 80 books, including the aforementioned Stravaganza series and the bestselling picture book, Amazing Grace. Mary is also the editor of a review magazine ...more
More about Mary Hoffman...

Other Books in the Series

Stravaganza (6 books)
  • City of Masks (Stravaganza, #1)
  • City of Stars (Stravaganza, #2)
  • City of Flowers (Stravaganza, #3)
  • City of Secrets (Stravaganza, #4)
  • City of Swords (Stravaganza, #6)

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