Linh's Reviews > The City in the Lake

The City in the Lake by Rachel Neumeier
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Oct 31, 08

Recommended for: younger teens and above
Read in October, 2008, read count: 1

“THE KINGDOM’S HEART is the city. The City’s heart is the King. The King’s heart is the Prince. The Prince is missing.” From the moment the prince went missing, the whole kingdom is in disarray. From the heart of the kingdom to its outskirts, infants are born dead or dying. When Timou’s father, a mage, journeys to the City and never returns, Timou decides to go after him. She travels to the kingdom’s heart and there she faces powers much greater than her own and unravels the truth of her birth and destiny.

The City in the Lake’s cover summary (first sentence of which is quoted above) was what first captured my attention. The cover itself is pretty as far as fantasy goes, but the summary on the cover flap is so elegantly written that I opened the book with high expectations in mind. Some of which were met. There is much to praise about The City in the Lake. The character of Timou is no damsel in distress, which is refreshing. The other characters are also well-drawn, especially the king’s illegitimate son, aptly nicknamed the Bastard. The Bastard is wry, funny, and oh-so-real. He is easily my favorite character. In fact, every other character in the story pales before him, including Timou. The prose is beautiful, full of metaphors and symbolism. True to its summary, this book is abstract and elegant, which leads to the bad points. Simply to say, The City in the Lake is too beautiful. It is too elegant and, at times, too abstract. Every character seems to be speaking in codes and every other line contains a metaphor. Eventually, it just gets to be too much. The overabundance of descriptions and double-meanings weigh the story down, causing the plot to drag. Story-wise and character-wise, the book does a fine job, but Neumeier might consider toning down her prose. Overall, this was a pleasant read.
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