The last Stravaganza novel is published today. That feels so sad, but it is a fantastic read, as usual. Mary Hoffman is in Manchester today, so I hope to be able to report any fresh news on the Stravaganza front soon.
The new Stravagante in City of Swords is Laura, who cuts herself. Somewhat interestingly, she ends up with a dagger as her talisman, and it takes her to Fortezza in Talia, where war is about to break out. Laura’s problem – and that of the other Stravaganti – is that she supports both sides of the conflict.
Even more than in previous books, we see all the other Stravaganti getting involved, and there are some other highly interesting developments, as well. Needless to say, there is plenty of romance and the di Chimicis are still both very bad and a little good. Fabrizio is as stupid as ever.
It’s exam time in London, so the last thing any of the teenagers need is to stravagate to Talia most nights. But sometimes there are more important things than exams. You learn about things through living them, and some London teenagers will have more than their share of knowledge on ancient warfare techniques.
Mary ties up a lot of plot strands in City of Swords, which is reassuring in one way, but not in the world where we want more Stravaganza novels. Things don’t generally end badly in Mary’s cities, so there is no need to worry about Fortezza. It can be bad for the minor characters, but on the whole this is feelgood historical fantasy.