4 star rating
The Golden City
By J. Kathleen Cheney
ISBN#  9780451417749
Author’s Website:

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Sammy


For two years, Oriana Paredes has been a spy among the social elite of the Golden City, reporting back to her people, thesereia, sea folk banned from the city’s shores….

When her employer and only confidante decides to elope, Oriana agrees to accompany her to Paris. But before they can depart, the two women are abducted and left to drown. Trapped beneath the waves, Oriana’s heritage allows her to survive while she is forced to watch her only friend die.

Vowing vengeance, Oriana crosses paths with Duilio Ferreira—a police consultant who has been investigating the disappearance of a string of servants from the city’s wealthiest homes. Duilio also has a secret: He is a seer and his gifts have led him to Oriana.

Bound by their secrets, not trusting each other completely yet having no choice but to work together, Oriana and Duilio must expose a twisted plot of magic so dark that it could cause the very fabric of history to come undone…. (Goodreads)


First, my reasoning for the rating, 3 stars for the story line and 5 stars for the writing so I rounded out to 4 stars.

The writing style is wonderful, the descriptions leap off the pages and you can see what the author is trying to say about the City, river and places. There are issues with the plot, slow and plodding for the mystery part.  Also, in the beginning of the story it goes into detail about how Oriana is not very attractive, which is interesting since in the first few chapters she has a couple of offers of men wanting to sleep with her going as far as trying to blackmailing her into it.

The characters get confusing at times, to many that don’t really go anywhere. Perhaps they will wind up in the next book?? With thay ending, there will have to be a second book. It will be interesting  to see where the author takes this story. Hopefully for me, there will be more action.

I personally didn’t warm up to any of the characters, not quite sure why. They were a bit flat, don’t get me wrong they were written about in exquisite detail, but there emotions didn’t feel real for me.

Quote from goodreads synopsis:

 “Oriana and Duilio must expose a twisted plot of magic so dark that it could cause the very fabric of history to come undone….”

When reading this, it seems there would be some explosive type things happening, but in general it’s slow moving without the major exciting factor. So it has a gentle mystery, with mild fantasy and very little romance flavor.  This story is listed as fantasy and while it has touches of fantasy, it is more of a historical mystery with feather light romance. The fantasy parts seemed more background and understated.

Having said all this, for me it was an incredibly well written story, but a bit to subtle for my taste.

I highly recommend this book for people who enjoy fantastic writing with a story line that is gentle and on the slower side.