The new installment in the critically acclaimed Stravaganza series transports readers to a world much like our own—but where magic and piracy come to life in the Italian town of Classe. The new Stravagante is Isabel, a visitor from our world who befriends Flavia, a successful female merchant of spices, silks, and tapestries. But Flavia soon finds herself an outcast and a pirate, while Isabel learns that Classe is under threat of attack by the fierce Gate people. What can she do to help save the city?
I found this to be a very exciting read. I've read the other Stravaganza stories except for City of Secrets and this story is just as good as the rest of them. In fact, this one is probably one of my favorites.
In this one, we meet Isabel who is a twin- much like myself. Like me, she is younger than her twin brother, Charlie, and feels that Charlie is better than her. That was one of the reasons I found this story so compelling is because i can relate to how she feels. While she does love her brother, she also feels jealously towards him.
So when she comes to Talia and finds herself in the midst of a upcoming war, she can't feel anything but excitement. She finds Talia not only exciting, but a place where she is finally recognized for something other than her brother's shadow. Here in Classe, she meets Flavia and her son who is an outlaw and a pirate. She soon learns about the city and how to travel between cities. Something which has never been done before by the Stravagante.
During the day she meets up with the other London Stravagante who help Isabel learn more about Talia. Here at home, Charlie comes to suspect that something is going on in his sister's life. So he follows her around and accidentally takes her talisman. When he ends up in her world, Isabel has to go bring him back with the use of part of her talisman. When they get home, Charlie gains new respect for his sister and wants to never go back to the other world.
How she defeats the Gate people and what happens to the rest of the characters, I'll let you find out for yourself.
Now, what I did like: Besides the twin-ness, I love the characters. Isabel is a character I liked from the start and stayed on my good graces throughout the story. Flavia's son's story was perticulary heartfelt and I was able to enjoy Nick's sister's story. I felt sorry for her and I was happy when Nick went to talk to her. I enjoyed seeing a map of Talia, a cast of characters, and a family tree. They were certainly helpful when some things got confusing. I like how you can read this book without having read the others because the characters explain what has happened in other books.
What I didn't like: I don't think there was enough information about how Isabel's friends were effected by Isabel's change and what happens to some of the characters after the book ends. I thought that it was kind of cliche how Sky's girlfriend dumps him and then he likes Isabel afterwards. I was hoping that there might be some romantic feelings between Isabel and Flavia's son.
Overall: I would give this a four and a half stars. I would also recommend it because it is an exciting tale.
What do you think about books in a series that you can read without having to have read the others? Or do you like them better when you have to read the books in order? Do you have any stories about times spent on the ocean or a lake that you'd like to share?