Book review

Stravaganza: City of Flowers by Mary Hoffman (2005)

Part three of the Stravaganza series

Here's a big question. What if?

Have you ever taken a big decision in your life, and then wondered if you have done the right thing? Wondered how things might have turned out if you had done the other thing instead? Like looking at two possible lives.

Falco faced a decision like that, in the last book, Stravaganza: City of Stars. Horribly injured in a horse riding accident in his own world, a kind of Renaissance Italy, Falco faced up to choosing between staying like that for the rest of his life and stravagating to 21st century London where modern medicine could make him strong again.

He made his choice, and when we meet Falco again in this book you might think he is fitting in well with life at Barnsbury Comprehensive. But something happens to unsettle him.

Sky Meadows, another pupil at Barnsbury Comprehensive, finds a blue glass perfume bottle on the doorstep of his house in London. It's a talisman, left behind by Brother Sulien of the friary of Saint-Mary-among-the-Vines-in the great city of Giglia. Sky uses it to stravagate to Giglia, though he doesn't realize what he's done until he gets there, of course, and even then it's a bit of a struggle to comprehend:

'You have the talisman?' asked Sulien, and Sky realised he was still holding the little glass bottle. He opened his fist. A strange feeling was beginning to creep over him that this was not exactly a dream, after all.
'Who are you?' Sky asked finally. 'I don't just mean your name.'
The monk nodded. 'I know what you mean. I am a Stravagante - we both are.'
'You and me?' Sky asked disbelievingly. He couldn't see how he and this mad monk, as he was beginning to think of him, could both be anything the same at all, except human beings and black.
'Yes, we are both part of a Brotherhood of scientists in Talia.'

It's not long before Sky finds he knows some other Stravaganti from the Brotherhood at home in his own world. They both go to his school in fact. Georgia and Falco. And it's also not long before Sky finds that he has been summoned to Giglia to help with a specific event, and it is that specific event that unsettles Falco so. Giglia is Falco's home, his family is in grave danger, and he wants to be with them.

What's to be done? Plenty, but you'll have to read the book to find out.

I love this series. It's absolutely packed with high drama and political intrigue, dark secrets, love triangles and misunderstandings. Falco fancies Georgia, Georgia fancies Lucien, Lucien fancies Arianna... Highly recommended!

What can I read next?

It's a series. This is part three. If you haven't come across Stravaganza before have a look at the books?in order:

If you enjoy books set in a different world with lots of adventure and intrigue, have a look at this series by Philip Reeve:

Or this brilliant adventure by Kenneth Oppel:

Or you might like to have a look at?this one by V A Richardson:

Also, the Bookchooser has found these books with a similar profile:

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