Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

City of Masks

City of Masks

Mary Hoffman
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Bloomsbury, 2002   ISBN: 1582349177

Lucien is sick in bed fighting cancer and hoping that his latest round of chemo has done the trick. He is very tired and his throat is so sore that it is hard to speak, so his father brings him a beautiful blank book from Venice to write in. When Lucien falls asleep holding the book he begins to dream about a city that looks very much like Venice. He soon finds out that he is not dreaming at all, he really is in the city, but it is not Venice. The city is called Bellezza, and it exists in another time and in another parallel world.

Lucien meets a girl called Arianna and through her he meets the Duchessa, the ruler of Bellezza, and her friend, Signor Rodolfo. Rodolfo explains to Lucien that he is, Lucien, is a Stravagante, a person who can travel between two worlds. While he is in Bellezza, Lucien appears to be a deep sleep in his own world. Lucien is fascinated by Bellezza, and his time there is made even more special by the fact that when he is there he is completely well, he is cancer free.

Lucien soon discovers that all is not well in Bellezza. There are those who want to remove the Duchessa from power, and they are willing to do just about anything to achieve their goals. They are even willing to use Lucien and Arianna to bring the powerful Duchessa to her knees.

This thrilling book will delight readers who enjoy fantasy titles. Readers will soon find themselves believing in Bellezza and hoping that Arianna and Lucien will be able to survive the intrigues that swirl around the city.

The beautifully written book is the first title in what promises to be a popular series.