I’m trying to figure out what kind of disclaimer I should stick on this post. Genevieve Cogman‘s debut fantasy THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY was so much fun that I immediately pre-ordered its sequel, THE MASKED CITY (to put that into context, I only do that for a handful of new releases), and I was halfway through my Kindle edition when I received an email saying that I won the Goodreads giveaway for the physical book (also, that makes it two Goodreads giveaway wins in a year, after four years without winning anything – I’m not entering any more giveaways until 2020 now). So technically, I received a review copy of THE MASKED CITY, but I also shelled out my own money to read this on release date. Consider all biases disclosed…
Librarian-spy Irene is working undercover in an alternative London when her assistant Kai goes missing. She discovers he’s been kidnapped by the fae faction and the repercussions could be fatal. Not just for Kai, but for whole worlds.
Kai’s dragon heritage means he has powerful allies, but also powerful enemies in the form of the fae. With this act of aggression, the fae are determined to trigger a war between their people – and the forces of order and chaos themselves.
Irene’s mission to save Kai and avert Armageddon will take her to a dark, alternate Venice where it’s always Carnival. Here Irene will be forced to blackmail, fast talk, and fight. Or face death.
So – I should really stop using the word “fun” to describe this series, right? (See overuse in review of first book.) Maybe delightful? Enthralling? Satisfying? All of those and more.
I had high hopes for this sequel, and I wasn’t disappointed. If anything, it was even better than I remembered and I was rapidly sucked back into Irene’s world right from the start. This time around, the action mainly takes place in alternate-Venice (with detours to a couple of other worlds, and of course, the Library), interspersed with some very cool train scenes (think James Bond on the Hogwarts Express – or is that just me?) and epic last-minute escapes.
The remarkably persistent Irene carries the book. Let’s face it, a kick-ass librarian (who uses the Language as her primary weapon) sneaking into very dangerous enemy territory to save her assistant is totally my kind of heroine. It’s not all action though – I’m also enjoying the personal interplay between Irene and Kai (and possibly Irene and Vale?), there’s some interesting undertones of attraction mixed in with the bonds of loyalty there. Add in a few genuinely scary villains (and not-villains) in this book, and some rather intriguing new characters (who I can only hope make an appearance in the third (and final?) book) and it all makes for an incredibly satisfying read.
THE MASKED CITY more than fulfils the promise of the first book, and I need to know what happens to Irene and her gang next (yes, the reader is left dangling ever-so-slightly at the end of the book, though not quite enough to trigger my cliffhanger hatred). It’s been a remarkably
fun enjoyable two books so far, and I really hope Genevieve Cogman sticks the landing.
Review copy courtesy of Goodreads giveaway (kind of, anyway)