Lucien has turned the corner with his cancer. His parents talk to him by the side of his bed, and Lucien is given a marbled notebook. With no energy left, he falls into a deep sleep. Except Lucien does not wake up in his bed. He wakes up in a Venice-like city called Bellezza, in Talia. He becomes a mandolier after meeting Arianna in the city. His whole life is changed; In Bellezza, Lucien is no longer sick. His body is not weak from many chemotherapy treatments.

Lucien learns from Rodolfo, the person who put Lucien’s notebook in England, that he is a stravagante. The Stravagante have a secret brotherhood in which Lucien joins. The brotherhood is stalked by many, and threatened by more. Lucien’s life is in danger in both worlds, since he does not have a shadow in Talia.

At home, Lucien gets sicker every day. His parents worry about his tiredness, and Lucien begins to think. If he had to make a choice, which life would he choose?

I have loved this series since maybe fifth, sixth grade. I can’t tell you how much that I have adored them. My copies are so worn, from my reading and friends, that I had to throw them away. About half the pages fell out.

The “City of” series has so much drama, fantasy, history, and tension, yet it remains real. It is for older teens, definitely. Some might not catch the small details, which are very important. Also, I would recommend this to any lover of books, not just fantasy. I usually have a hard time with fantasy, but these books are amazing.

If you like the first, don’t miss City of Stars and City of Flowers. The fourth book is City of Secrets, but it is not out yet.