The City Beneath the Hidden Stars

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Pub Date 27 Sep 2022 | Archive Date 15 Sep 2022

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Description

Drawing on an eclectic mix of influences and based on the myths and history of Zagreb, Croatia, The City Beneath the Hidden Stars is a fantastical story that unveils the wondrous concealed in the mundane and is an adventure not to missed.

Long ago, the Black Queen once ruled Zagreb in a looming fortress over the city. Her legend lives on in children’s games and bedtime stories. Is it truly only folklore? And what harm is death to a queen who supposedly stole secrets from the stars?

When rumors surface that the Black Queen might still be alive and living in a haunted chasm beneath Zagreb’s Bear Mountain, it prompts the Star Council to dispatch star daimon Leo Solar to Earth to investigate.

After witnessing a bizarre event at a local music gig, former philosophy student Dario Taubek begins to notice a strange-looking man in a star suit. Curious, he follows him and what he discovers catapults him into a world he never knew existed. A world of magical trams, myths and monsters, celestial beings, and the legendary Black Queen.

Drawing on an eclectic mix of influences and based on the myths and history of Zagreb, Croatia, The City Beneath the Hidden Stars is a fantastical story that unveils the wondrous concealed in the...


A Note From the Publisher

Available in the following formats: Hardcover: 978-1-64397-310-4 | Softcover: 978-1-64397-311-1 | Ebook:.978-1-64397-312-8 | LCCN: 2021944668 | Print distribution through Ingram, Gardners, and Baker & Taylor | Ebook library distribution through Overdrive, Hoopla, and Baker & Taylor.

Available in the following formats: Hardcover: 978-1-64397-310-4 | Softcover: 978-1-64397-311-1 | Ebook:.978-1-64397-312-8 | LCCN: 2021944668 | Print distribution through Ingram, Gardners, and Baker...


Marketing Plan

—Indie Next List (September) Nomination

—Library Reads (September) Nomination

—National Review Coverage

—Prepublication Buzz Campaign

—Extensive marketing to Booksellers, Librarians, and Book Influencers, including digital ARC campaign

—Digital ARCs Offered on NetGalley & LibraryThing

—Featured title in Fresh Fiction’s Book Box for September

—Targeted Consumer Email Marketing

—Extensive Social Media Promotion


Key Selling Points:

—The novel is loosely based on the local legends of the Black Queen, a mythical fifteenth-century witch and onetime ruler of an ancient fortress near Zagreb, Croatia.

—The novel will appeal to a wide-range of fantasy lovers as well as those who enjoy more literary fiction.

—Readers who enjoyed American Gods by Neil Gaimon and The Snowmelt River by Frank P. Ryan will find a new favorite author in Sonya Kudei.

—Indie Next List (September) Nomination

—Library Reads (September) Nomination

—National Review Coverage

—Prepublication Buzz Campaign

—Extensive marketing to Booksellers, Librarians, and Book...


Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781643973104
PRICE $30.00 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

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Send to Kindle (EPUB)
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Average rating from 11 members


Featured Reviews

The City Beneath The Hidden Stars was a pretty decent first book for the author Sonya Kudei. While I do believe there is room for a book two, there is no cliff hanger.

The first part was a little difficult for me to follow because it was too descriptive and lost my attention easily .. It was at fifty percent in when the story finally got more interesting and picked up for me.. I was convinced there was going to be a cliff hanger but the story ends a bit abruptly.

In this story you get Croatian lore, witches, legends, a bit of the underworld , multi dimensions, celestial democracy, and a variety of magical animals. I would say this is a good urban fantasy for high schoolers and middle schoolers.

My favorite characters were Leo and Dario even though Leo sometimes drove me batty. One of the funny parts
that stuck out to me was when Dario brought Leo The Hobbit book assuming it was a banishing book. lol

There is no romance in this story, it stays pretty clean minus a few cuss words.

Overall this was a pretty good start and I'd love to see Leo work with Stella more.

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tl;dr
An irreverent adventure that mixes Croatian folklore with extra-terrestrial mythology. Story takes a bit to get going on the front end.

About
Old tales in the city of Zagreb tell of a queen dark and powerful who used to rule with an iron fist. But those days are long gone. A girl playing schoolyard games. A college dropout looking for direction. A literal fallen star tasked with atoning for his sins. Three strangers suddenly faced with stopping the rise of the Black Queen. But the queen is dead. Isn't she?

Thoughts
I rarely dedicate more than a sentence to an author's writing style, but I think I have to start with the style here, because it defines so much of the book itself. The writing is irreverent and cynical, with a very conversational style, as if the story is being recounted by one of the disaffected philosophy students that the book's hero Dario hangs out with. Detailed descriptions of people and places are punctuated with sly remarks about shortcomings or lack of relevance. All in all, it gives the events of this book a sense of being an inconsequential thing, which is strange, because I would argue that the rise of an ancient evil is very consequential. Even set against the backdrop of an interstellar war, the Black Queen and her followers present a genuinely terrifying threat, and scenes with her were especially chilling. Plot moves like the final drop on a rollercoaster, slowly easing readers up to the top before a sharp, adrenaline-pumping finale. The three heroes of this book are Stella, Dario, and Leo. Stella is probably my favorite - a spunky young heroine doing her best in the world. Dario and Leo are a fun odd couple, both trapped in situations they're trying to escape, and I'd be delighted to read further adventures with them. I know absolutely nothing about Croatian mythology (or Zagreb, for that matter), but reading this book has made me very interested in learning more. An appendix of some sort with names or other details would be much appreciated by this reader.

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The City Beneath the Stars is fantasy-filled, imaginative storytelling. I loved the mythological influences and alternative world that Sonya Kudei has crafted and am eager to visit this world in literature again.

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The City Beneath the Hidden Stars is a mix of Croatian mythology, science fiction, witches, and star beings. It's a magical tale centered in Zagreb, Croatia and is a fun read featuring mythology that's not commonly referenced, which I enjoyed learning about a lot.

I found myself having some difficulty getting into the book initially as the first portion is quite detailed and slowly paced. However, as we follow Dario, Leo, and Stella, it becomes a lot more fun!

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The City Beneath the Hidden Stars is an interesting book by Sonya Kudei.
This book takes place in Zagreb, and is about Croatian mythology. That in itself is very interesting, I do not hear anything about Croatian mythology. But it is also interesting in the writing style.
The City Beneath the Hidden Stars is about an evil queen, called the Black Queen, who was trapped but is now trying to get untrapped and come back to destroy Zagreb. Three characters have to stop her. First is Leo, an arrogant star daemon. Next is Dario, a former philosophy student who has a very boring and sad life. Third is Stella, a child who is responsible for helping the Black Queen return in the first place.
The plot is solid, it takes a while to get going, but the characters are all very fun. But the writing style is the best part. It has a very dry and aloof humor, and spends a good deal of its time insulting Zagreb. But this makes even the more boring parts fun, and it makes the story seem less important.
I would recommend this book to people who want to learn more about Croatian mythology, and who like a dry humor throughout their book.

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Thank you NetGalley for the chance to read this book. I will preface that I got an updated copy of the book that no longer contains what previous reviewers mentioned they were concerned about so I will base my review on the updated copy.

I enjoyed reading this book and I liked the writing style but I could see how it wouldn’t appeal to everyone. I thought this book was unique, dark, and sometimes funny all at the same time. I liked the characters and various worlds as well.

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