I’m not sure where exactly I picked this book up. I found it on my bookshelf one day while I was attempting to sort…this is always difficult at my house. Anyway, it is marked up, like maybe I found it on a bargain shelf somewhere. It falls somewhere in-between fantasy and sci-fi in genre. Maybe like a spy fantasy/sci-fi…
At first it seems fantasy, but somehow all the fantastic parts get a scientific explanation at one point or another. I think I actually liked this about the book, or at least aspects of it, even though it left me in limbo from time to time.
I didn’t like the protagonist at first, Sarah Weston. Although, I did find the fact that she was a music major interesting. How many novels have been written using PhD students in music as protagonists? I don’t know, but this was my first. Her specialty is Beethoven. Loved that too. I haven’t done any fact checking with this novel to find out what parts are true and what parts were made up, history-wise, but I did like reading about Beethoven. (My mother is a music teacher. Piano lessons were a requirement of having a roof over my head.)
She grew on me over time, as did the book, though it took a little while. There were some wonderfully written characters, including a 400 year old dwarf, and the setting did draw me in. Prague, in various centuries, including ones in which Beethoven was alive. There is also a blind musical prodigy, a holy relic that answers prayer called the Infant of Prague, and a hell portal. Really, this book is chalk-full.
I was annoyed, not with the amount of sex in the book, but with the sex in general. I’m really not against sex scenes as a general rule, and they do often serve a storytelling purpose when used in novels that don’t have Harlequin Romance on the spine. However, at times it seemed like the author was trying too much. Putting it in for shock value (and some of it was a bit shocking), or because the story couldn’t stand on its own. Due to the type of character the author was tying to turn Sarah into, I can see the need for some of it. Although, I’m not sure it worked. A lot of it was just…ostentatious. I realize that might be a strange word to use, but read the book and I think you would agree it is appropriate.
This book is written like a YA novel, except for the sex scenes of course, and in my opinion falls in the lower/mediocre range as far as writing. While I did enjoy it, eventually, it was not that well written. I can enjoy a lot of bad writing compared to most people. I learn from it. Also, I was an 8th grade English teacher. I’ve built an immunity.
Some of the reasons for this ambivalent take on the novel may come from the author, who is touted as Magnus Flyte. Yep, the name is a dead give away. Elusive Mister Flyte apparently “shuns the public eye”. He communicates with people through his representatives Meg Howrey and Christina Lynch. I haven’t read a lot of novels that are the result of collaboration between two authors. The only ones I can think of right now are Charles Todd books. I’m thinking this may be the reason for the back and forth on the book.
I don’t recommend this book to everyone. If you are into fantasy and YA, but are an adult, you may give it a try. Get back to me on what you think. I’m so wishy-washy that another opinion, even if it is ambivalent as well, may help me solidify my feelings.