Tim's Reviews > City of Masks

City of Masks by Mary Hoffman
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's review
Jan 03, 12

Read from December 31, 2011 to January 03, 2012

This book was okay. This is the story of a boy who straddles two worlds (twenty-first-century England and a land bearing remarkable similarities to sixteenth-century Venice, Italy). In his life in this century, he is a fifteen-year-old who ultimately passes away from cancer. In Bellazza, in the Reman empire (named for Remus who -- in their alternate version of the story of the founding of Rome -- defeated his twin brother Romulus), he gets heavily involved in political intrigue.

I give this story two stars on two levels. First, though it was essential to the story itself, I just don't care for stories about cancer. Television stories about people who have been touched in some way by it are one thing. Reading it in novels is not something over which I turn handsprings. Second, I don't care for stories (adult, teen, or otherwise) that happen in two time periods. I generally avoid them if I can help it. Whether in movies, video games (Onimusha III: Demon Seige comes to mind), or novels, for me that kind of deus ex machina just doesn't work.

Each individual part of the novel works well enough on their own merits. That is to say, if the story had been entirely set in Bellazza -- the "make-believe Venice" into which Lucien/Luciano was drawn -- it would have worked well. If it had been a story about a kid with cancer, that too, I suppose, would have worked just as well. Individually, the first storyline I probably would have given at least three stars. The second I would have put back on the shelf in the library where I got it.

In toto, I would probably not rush to read this book again, though I might recommend it to others. It will be a while before I move on to the second book in the series, though. Partially because I need a break from it... partially because I have already started my next book: Lauren Kate's book Fallen

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Reading Progress

01/03/2012 page 215

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