Neumeier, Rachel. 2008. The City in the Lake. Random House. 294 pages.
The City is beautiful at sunset, almost as beautiful as the Lake itself.
I had a tough time with this fantasy novel. I'll be honest, I didn't really like this one. I will say this. I am not sure--even now--who is to blame for this. Part of me feels that I was just too dumb for this one. I just didn't get it. There were many elements that were just miles over my head. I was left confused and frustrated. I expect graphs, maps, and math to leave me perplexed like this. But not really fantasy novels. So it was surprising that there were things that I couldn't grasp. I kept reading because I hoped that I would reach a point where everything would click and fall into place. I think Rachel Neumeier was just too imaginative. So is it the way the book is written? I'm not sure. I'd be curious to hear from other readers.
When a prince goes missing, the kingdom begins to unravel. You see, the prince is the heart of the kingdom, and without the heart how can a kingdom survive? Then the king goes missing--he's off to search for the prince. The kingdom gets even worse--more desperate, the older brother (Neill)--half-brother--of the prince begins his rule of the kingdom. It's not that he's power-hungry. But someone has to take charge. A kingdom without any rule or authority? That couldn't be a good thing. And the queen is a bit too heartbroken, upset, and illogical to get the job done.
Timou is the daughter of a magician. When her father goes missing, she leaves home and heads towards the City. It will be a dangerous journey. And she doesn't know what she'll find when she arrives. Is her father dead or alive? How will the king receive her? (She doesn't know that the king has gone missing too.) Jonas, the young man in love with Timou, doesn't want her to go. At least not go alone. But Timou is sneaky like that. And she doesn't want company on her quest. But Jonas can't make peace with her decision. So a few days later--after her journey has begun--he goes on a journey of his own. Again it will be dangerous and risky.
So other than being about a LOT of missing people what is this one about? It's about the heart and soul of a kingdom. It's about magic and fantasy and worlds within worlds within worlds within worlds. It's about the fluidity of reality perhaps. I'm not sure. As I said, this one kept me lost a bit of the time.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews