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STRAVAGANZA II: CITY OF STARS by Mary Hoffman

STRAVAGANZA II: CITY OF STARS

By Mary Hoffman

Age Range: 11 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 1-58234-839-1
Publisher: Bloomsbury

This second exploration of the dimension of the “stravagantes” sets their wider political intrigues in a more intimate personal context. London teen Georgia affects a punk bravado in the face of unpopularity, an abusive stepbrother, and the recent death of Lucien, her secret crush. But Lucien has actually “stravagated” to a fantastic parallel Renaissance Italy; Georgia discovers she shares this power, landing in Remora (an analog of our Siena), and allying herself to one of the factions in the city’s annual horse race. She also finds Lucien neck-deep in the maneuverings linking the race to the struggle against the powerful Chemici (i.e., Medici) clan. Toss in a handsome jockey, a crippled Chemici prince, espionage, political betrothals, kidnapping, and a miraculous winged horse, and there is almost too much plot; but Hoffman keeps a tight control on the various conflicts as they climax spectacularly at the race. The background is so rich with fascinating tidbits that the characters can nearly become lost, but Georgia remains appealing, realistically flawed yet likable and determined. A fine read on its own, and a compelling entry in an addictive series. (Fantasy. 11+)