Ann W. (New York, NY)
lost and misplaced in time
I had a very mixed reaction to this book. The chronology is wrong, even through the author acknowledged some of this in an afterword. Characters are not very interesting. The novel was filled with information, not always relevant to the story. The author alludes to Velodrome d"Hiver which occurred in 1942. Yet what actually happened was buried until after the war. The French have yet to really acknowledge what occurred. Maya deceit about herself was unrealistic. All Arabs are not Moslem yet that was the implication. The research gave some interests tidbits but ignored other people. Nasser and Sadat were close. He was in Cairo when Lamson incident occurred in 1942.
The end was also unrealistic but formulaic.
Lee M. (Creve Coeur, MO)
Fasten your seat belt and settle in for a clever dose of mystery with a sprinkling of history and a darn good story. Ms. Maio knows this part of the world and you can feel her love for it as the plot unfolds. I was really deep into it and then the author added a totally unnecessary explicit sex scene that interrupted the flow and spoilt it all. And the implausible airport "Casablacian" scene added to my dismay. Oh well 3/4 of a good book is better than none?
Mary R. (San Jose, CA)
A Love Letter to Cairo
'City of the Sun' is a love letter to Cairo by the author. She draws the reader in to World War II era Cairo and describes it in such detail that we are there with the characters. It reminded me of the film 'Cairo Time' in the sense that the creator of both stories are obviously so much in love with this mysterious and magical city. However, the characters never seemed to come to full form and I ultimately didn't really care about what happened to them. The story took a long time to come to a dramatic head. I recommend this book with some reservations – I think that readers might overlook weak characters in favor of the historical background and description of life in Cairo during WWII.
Sara F. (Riverbank, CA)
Good Story Just Misses
I wanted to love this book but I just didn't. Historical fiction is my favorite genre so I stuck with it but it is not a page turner or a thriller. Well, not until the last 60 pages or so, anyway. I'm glad to learn more about that place and time from someone with a keen personal interest and would be happy to hear more from Juliana Maio if she could speak less like a reporter and more like a yarn spinner. I hope she tries again.
Barbara O. (Maryland Heights, MO)
City of the Sun is a captivating read. In turns, historical, the intrigue of spies and the politics of World War Ii, a romance and murder. This book has it all. Most intriguing the story of the Egyptian Jews and Cairo as it was at the start of the war.the author tells an entertaining story with likable characters that keep your interest to the end. Along the way, the reader revisits history and is transported to a glamorous time when Britain still ruled the world. Entertaining till the end. Bravo.
Becky H. (Chicago, IL)
CITY OF THE SUN by Juliana Maio
This book started as a good, well thought out war time spy thriller with a little romance thrown in. Then three fourth of the way through a couple of needless hot and heavy sex scenes appeared that seemed out of character for Maya and unnecessary for the story line. Then the ending just got unbelievable. It seemed as though the author ran out of steam and did a quick and dirty ending with coincidence and unreal situations abounding.
The characters – Maya, a Jewish refugee trying to get to Palestine with her scientist brother; Mickey, an American newspaperman turned spy; Kesner, a German spy looking for the brother, and a host of minor characters - were well fleshed out with clear voices and actions. A number of historical persons and organizations played minor parts (Anwar Sadat, King Farouk, the Muslim Brotherhood) appearing realistically as needed for the plot. Cairo in 1941, festering with a desire for independence and drowning in refugees and foreign soldiers, was a great setting for the story line. It is too bad the ending was so unsatisfying.
I enjoyed the book as a whole but not the ending.
Rebecca R. (Las Vegas, NV)
An Intriguing Tale !
I loved this book and can envision it as a movie. While wartime stories may not strike some as unique, this book's setting and narrator's alternating perspectives combine for something new. The plot pulled me into the World War II Egyptian setting right away and kept me interested. Sometimes when I vacillate between rating a book a 4 or a 5, I have to remember that it is books like this one which make the higher 5 rating easy. As I read, I found myself making notes of things I wanted to research in greater depth. I am so glad to have had an opportunity to receive this book on BookBrowse as I'm not sure it would have caught my eye otherwise.