Thursday, September 8, 2016

ARC Review: The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman

Series:     Invisible Library #2
Pub. Date:Sept 6, 2016
Publisher:Roc / Berkley
Length:336 pages

With The Masked City, Genevieve Cogman delivers another complex and fantastical adventure  that transcends worlds and features our favorite spy librarian. As a recap, the Invisible Library is an inter-dimensional entity that doesn't seem to be part of time or space, but that collects works from the different worlds as both a record and means of stability. 

Our protagonist for the series is Irene, who has now been promoted to Librarian-in-Residence for a steampunk Victorian London realm inhabited by humans, fae and werewolves. And don't forget Irene's trusty sidekick, library apprentice, and possible love interest, Kai, who is a dragon from a royal bloodline. Unfortunately, at the onset of this story we see Kai being kidnapped for some unknown reason and spirited off to another realm. As Irene is responsible for Kai in the eyes of both the library and Kai's scary scaly family, the pressure is on for Irene to retrieve Kai without succumbing to chaos, fae glamour, or starting an inter-dimensional war between the races.

We moved away from Victorian London in this story and, as the title suggests, found ourselves in the masked city of Venice. This version of the beautiful Italian city is in a high chaos realm dominated by the fae races. Irene had to rely on more than just her library talents to navigate the realm as unobtrusively as possible, which didn't work out for her most of the time. There was less focus on the library itself in this book and more emphasis on the adventure and suspense of Irene's rescue mission.

The antagonists for this installment were a couple of fae, Lord and Lady Guantes. While they stated their main motivation for kidnapping a dragon... I'm not quite sure how they would have benefited from the resulting chaos. I would have liked for the villains and their plot to be developed a bit more, as I like getting into the nitty gritty of the evil scheme. I want to know the who, why and how of these things. Lord Silver continued to be a semi-antagonist, baiting Irene at every turn with attempted seduction or puzzing doublespeak. They were more on the same side in The Masked City than we saw in The Invisible Library, and I like them in this position. I find Lord Silver intriguing and a bit humorous so I would love to see him and Irene thrown together more in the future.

The high chaos setting of this installment was confusing at times, particularly with regard to the "stories being told" aspect. I can't even begin to explain that to you so I'm not going to try... but I found if I just kind of ignored the unclear parts and focused on the action and adventure, I had a good time reading this one. I will definitely continue reading the series to see what happens with Irene, Kai and Vale next. The story ended not on a cliffhanger necessarily but definitely at a point that is to be continued...

I received an advanced copy of this book from Berkley via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

The Invisible Library