Thursday, September 8, 2016

Masked City

The Masked City (The Invisible Library Series, #2) - Genevieve Cogman
Release Date: September 6, 2016

Warning: Potential Spoilers!

Rating (Out of 5):

Synopsis: Working in an alternate version of Victorian London, Librarian-spy Irene has settled into a routine, collecting important fiction for the mysterious Library and blending in nicely with the local culture. But when her apprentice, Kai—a dragon of royal descent—is kidnapped by the Fae, her carefully crafted undercover operation begins to crumble.
Kai’s abduction could incite a conflict between the forces of chaos and order that would devastate all worlds and all dimensions. To keep humanity from getting caught in the crossfire, Irene will have to team up with a local Fae leader to travel deep into a version of Venice filled with dark magic, strange coincidences, and a perpetual celebration of Carnival—and save her friend before he becomes the first casualty of a catastrophic war.
But navigating the tumultuous landscape of Fae politics will take more than Irene’s book-smarts and fast-talking—to ward off Armageddon, she might have to sacrifice everything she holds dear....

The Masked City continues the story begun in The Invisible Library about the mysterious Library and the multiple worlds where it collects books.  Irene and her assistant/trainee Kai have established themselves in an alternate Victorian London and just when Irene is sure things have settled down- they get interesting again.  Kai is abducted, and chances are good its about more than their latest book acquisition.  Irene and Vale (this world's Sherlock Holmes) have to face magic, mystery, and chaos to try and get him back and head off a war.  Caught between the dragons on one side and the Fae on the other, Irene has to decide how far she is willing to go, and how much she is willing to give up, to balance the Library's neutrality with a very personal situation.

Readers who start with this book instead of The Invisible Library will be able to catch up on main characters and basic world building pretty quickly.  The Masked City pitches Irene, Vale, and Kai straight into danger and never really lets them catch their breath as they travel to a high-chaos realm of old Venice constantly in Carnival season.  It's a world poisonous to dragons and closed off from the Library.  Along with Irene we meet several dragons and learn more about the Fae.  Not only does Lord Silver play a slightly larger role here, but new Fae- both enemies and potential allies- are introduced.  Because this Venice is so high-chaos, the power of stories plays a large role in the adventure.  The trick is hoping the story works in your favor: making you the hero, having someone helpful appear just when needed, etc.  Irene needs to not only figure out Fae politics and alliances but also how to manipulate the story to work in her favor.

The Masked City is a fast-paced, witty, clever adventure.  I didn't find it quite as absorbing as The Invisible Library but I enjoyed delving more into Cogman's world(s).  This Venice was a perfect version of everyone's image of Old Venice.  The Fae were a lot of fun, and it was nice seeing a few become allies (at least temporarily). Irene continues to be wonderful- practical, clever, and great in a crisis.  She may not think of herself as a heroine but I certainly do!

Although there were sadly no remote controlled alligators- or their Venice equivalent- in The Masked City, it was still a great continuation of the series.  Readers be warned, while it doesn't end on a cliff-hanger, The Masked City will definitely leave you desperately waiting for the next book!  

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley for an honest review.

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